I'm not sure when it was that I developed a passion for traveling, different cultures, and our world in general, but ever since then I've decided that I want to see everything. Since entering UW, I have studied abroad twice before my third year, taking advantage of the opportunity to travel and see the world with a purpose. Both of these trips have been an invaluable learning experiences in language, culture, art history, and many other subjects. As much as I enjoyed exploring by myself during these trips and traveling alone afterwards, I feel like I got the most out of the planned and guided parts, seeing, learning, and experiencing more than I could ever manage on my own.
Both of my trips abroad were focused on art, art history, and specifically the concept of pilgrimage. In Japan we visited numerous museums, temples, and shrines, and hiked approximately sixty kilometers of an ancient pilgrimage trail in the Wakayama Prefecture. In England we didn’t get to traverse a pilgrimage trail, but we did get to see the beginning and the end of one, starting at The George Inn in Southwark, London, and ending at Canterbury Cathedral. A typical route though not exact. We also visited Stonehenge, and a number of other cathedrals and exhibits to learn about pilgrimage in England from the Middle Ages and even earlier. Additionally, we went to many museums and other not-so-ancient locations to explore the concept of pilgrimage in the modern era. My personal pilgrimage was to Cambridge, specifically a tea garden called The Orchard, an experience I would look back upon for my senior project, although I didn’t know it at the time. Interestingly, the required reading for this trip was a book called Backroads to Far Towns by Bashō, a Japanese traveling monk from the seventeenth century. The culmination of my trip in England was an art project, remaking an existing book into my own pilgrimage book. To symbolize the connection to my pilgrimage in Japan, I used a book called The Japan I Love.
These experiences abroad only seem to reinforce my passions for our world, different countries and cultures, and art history, making me aspire all the more to keep traveling in the future.
All original content © 2014 Anastasia Ivanova.