Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #135: Glimpse into My World

This week, Seetal invited us to share “the things you love that makes your world spin or things about your world that make you delirious with joy.” A simple task, right? Perhaps for some, but not for me. I have many things I’m in love with — family, my hometown of Knoxville, teaching, and volunteering. Yet I’ve never found a trip I didn’t love nor a place near or far that didn’t reveal something of the world I didn’t know before. Travel and learning make me “delirious with joy” — and one of my fondest remembrances brings home both: Viking’s ocean cruise — Cities of Antiquity and the Holy Land.

“…it seemed a part of her life, to step from the ancient to the modern, back and forth. She felt rather sorry for those who knew only one and not the other. It was better, she thought, to be able to select from the whole menu of human achievements than to be bound within one narrow range.”

Orson Scott Card in Children of the Mind
Viking tours -- guide

As an English major, Latin minor at the University of Tennessee, I fell in love with the study of ancient civilizations and all things old and interesting. But listen as I did, I didn’t retain as much as I should have, so my late-in-life tours have helped me recall what I read in college but also have brought the places we studied to life. On any tour, I rely on guides to share solid, interesting information — and I’ve never been let down. But still, I only retain a small portion of what the guides share. It’s the looking back at photos and the reading of travel books (skimming before, reading more fully afterwards) that solidifies the learning for me — lifelong learning, in its greatest form.

I am still learning.

Michelangelo (at age 87)

My heart leaps up during tours of museums when I move closer to look at architectural relics or gaze at ancient ruins revealing the lifestyles, beliefs, and customs of the people who lived ages ago.

Ancient buildings I see today are often in the midst of modernity — people, motorcycles, signage. But it doesn’t matter. It’s as if the juxtaposition of ancient and modern worlds shows how people then and now have settled the planet — at different times and perhaps with different purposes, different needs.

Rome -- Colisseum with locals
Rome’s Colisseum surrounded by modern-day life

I try to notice artwork, construction of buildings, elements reflective of different lifestyles — and wonder what really went on between the walls of the Vatican or the vast land surrounding Masada.

Masada -- view from remaining structures
Touring the ruins of Masada with an eye toward what the people who lived there could see.

And I’m grateful for craftsmen who have left us artistry — statues, tilework, tapestries, paintings — that make me ask, “How’d they do that?” when I think of how little they had to work with yet what grand ideas they were trying to reveal.

Hall of Maps, Vatican in Rome
Hall of Maps, Vatican

Travel takes us away, but often brings us back home — with new perspectives, new ideas about how people lived, and new appreciation for what came before, and what may come after.

Rome - Vatican at night
The Vatican at nigh.

And so for me, this glimpse into my world brings me full circle to what makes me tick — I’m always looking to learn about the present from studies of the past, with an eye to the future.

I can’t wait until we’re all able to travel again.

Always desire to learn something useful.

Sophocles
Herculaneum -- light streaming in to ruins
There’s always more if you follow the light.

Rusha Sams

If you’d like to see more posts on the topic of “Glimpse into My World,” go to Sheetal’s post and look at the entries linked below. Lens-Artists Photo Challenges come out each Saturday, offering insights into the authors who happen to love photos and the art of photography!

32 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #135: Glimpse into My World

  1. CompassAndCamera

    Rusha! This is such a beautiful post and I so enjoyed the insight into who you are and what about travel is so compelling to you. I especially love your closing quote about following the light.

  2. Prior...

    great post and your studies in english and Latin show more of your culture-rich shares
    and i think it was CS Lewis that said “we need to be reminded of things as much as we need to learn new stuff”
    but that idea (or course) goes back to early thinkers too
    but it connects to your points here – we do only take on so much at one time and then can forget and need review etc

  3. Amy

    Travel inspires us to learn more. Life long learning, well said, Rusha. I love how you discribe the juxtaposition of ancient and modern worlds. Such a beautiful, inspiring post. Thank you for sharing your insights.

  4. Leya

    Our world is still beautiful, and there is so much to be grateful for and to dream about. Learning, learning – always. A lovely post.

  5. Tina Schell

    A truly beautiful post Rusha, one of my favorites of your many wonderful responses. The images are stunning, particularly the last two. I agree whole-heartedly with your thoughts on travel and seeing the wonders of the world, especially the relics of times long past. We are so fortunate that scientists and archaeologists and modern technology have revealed so much of times long past. In particular, the invention of Lidar and the amazing worlds it is showing that have otherwise been long buried and out of sight. It IS a wonderful world, isn’t it?!

  6. WanderingCanadians

    Well said. I’m with you, I’ve never gone on a bad trip. There’s always something new that I learn or experience, and that feels so rewarding. It’s funny how travelling makes me feel more grounded. It definitely helps put things back into perspective. I can’t wait to start travelling again too.

  7. sheetalbravon

    I absolutely adored this post, Rusha. You blogged about my favourite country and I was drowning in memories of my time there. Herculaneum reminded me of Pompeii, they are similar and the Hall of Maps was actually deserted in your picture which was hard to believe. I remember being literally swept by the crowd, each one us staring slack jawed at the ceiling. Vatican museum was astonishing but then so was Rome. Like you, I read a great deal before going but it all clicked into place when I came back from the trip and read everything again. It was a pleasant way to relive my experiences and now I’m doing the same here. Thank you for this fabulous glimpse. Awesome post, Rusha!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks so much for the compliments. We were fortunate to have an after-hours tour of the Vatican Museum. We were the only group inside with the guides. I just wish we could have haft more time to explore and read the descriptors accompanying so many of the treasures. But still, I’m glad we were there when we were. Oh, for the chance to return!

  8. Steven Berger

    Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories. Annie and I will be done with our shots in a few weeks and have been planning this year’s travels. Hopefully back overseas in the fall. Of course we all know the expression: Man plans, God laughs.
    Be safe.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      I’ve never hear that expression, but there’s truth in it. We have no travel plans and feel that time and good health are fleeting. But we’re ready to make plans. I’m not even sure what countries will allow us to visit!!! Thx for taking a look at our blog and for commenting. We’ll make it through this pandemic!!

  9. Anonymous

    Great post Rusha. I think that you really caught the joys of travel, both in your photographs and quotes. With you and Michelangelo, I take great joy in the fact that I am still learning. –Curt

  10. maristravels

    I agree with everything you say, that’s why I go back so often to Italy. I think Italy, and to a lesser extent Greece, thrills me most because people are still living among the ruins so they seem more relevant. Another place where nature seems to live side by side with the ancient world is Turkey. I remember my first visit there and being aghast at the sight of a shepherd with his flock of goats wandering all over Pergamon. A few days later I had it all in perspective!

  11. Toonsarah

    Travel makes me very happy too and like you I can’t wait to travel again! But meanwhile it’s interesting to read about and see other people’s travel experiences. You really seem to have got a huge amount out of this trip 🙂

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