I’ve been with EF College Break for a little over 3 years and I have been extremely fortunate that my job empowers me to travel – something that up until 3 years ago, I didn’t consider something I would do a lot of in life. I’m a designer. This means I create pretty much anything and everything you see related to EFCB. A part of becoming a designer (or anything really) is learning the history and skills of your craft. I’ve had a lot of formal education in art history: from cave paintings to Warhol, the printing press to HTML, these things get driven into you in college. Education in its own right is a pattern that eventually manifests into our futures: our careers, our friends, our lives are all touched in someway by the lessons (school or otherwise) that we learn along the way. So for my blog post, I knew I wanted to somehow talk about patterns. Patterns in regards to the visual experience of travel as well as the incredible patterns that somehow seem to exist all at once without much warning.
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]What matters is to live in the present, live now, for every moment is now. It is your thoughts and acts of the moment that create your future. The outline of your future path already exists, for you created its pattern by your past. – Sai Baba[/quote]
So I consider myself lucky that all the ancient pieces of art history that I have studied have become a part of my history, my own pattern that has culminated in my ability to actually see the Doge’s Palace in Venice, experience the massive spectacle that is the Colosseum, and see the hills of Switzerland where I imagine Julie Andrews once danced while she escaped the Nazis in the Sound of Music (ok not exactly history but you get the picture).
So without further ado, here are some photos that I found especially emotive of this idea of patterns and you’ll notice one pattern in particular: lots of windows. I don’t know what it was about the windows and doorways abroad but they have so much individual character. Its more or less an even playing field on which to compare the places I’ve seen (in particular Switzerland and Italy).
These two doors are really indicative of their origins. On the left we have Engelberg, Switzerland and on the right, Assisi, Italy. While the two structures share a similar shape their stylings couldn’t any different. Switzerland’s bold pattern is reminiscent of the strong personality of Swiss design with their strong lines and high contrast colors. On the other side we have this gorgeous, lush door made of glistening and intricate wood panels peppered with iron dollops and the whole structure crowned pristine grid of glass. Switzerland’s door is form meeting function–a Swiss ideal while Italy’s door a more classic, almost Venetian presentation.
Venice, Italy was the first city on my trip where I realized that I wanted take a lot of pictures of windows. These two in particular I find mesmerizing. The window on the left with its blue, almost water color like design is stunning. This soft design outlined by strong white borders really plays a nice balance between soft and hard. Also, there is something about the decay, and age, that created these affects that are gorgeous. You can feel time on this windows. The window on the right has very strong, man-made lines atop this stucco wall that is starting to reveal its brick bones. Again, the pattern of decay here is what is creating this masterpiece work of art. In both, you can’t help but feel that nature is merrily using man’s structure as her new canvas.
Last but certainly not least are a couple pictures from ancient Rome. The red building on the left is stunning. A shade of red that you don’t expect to see emblazoned. Its so bold and so beautiful. Its a strong, almost harsh building that is topped with these beautiful, soft flowers and that juxtaposition is what I love most about this photo. And then, on the left we have a few simple ads for Bombay Saphire Gin. The posters are in the style of Art Nouveau: a decorative art where the lines are intricate and the forms take on flowing shapes based upon nature. The pristine woman framed on the right in contrast to her surroundings of a faded, grimy wall I think really highlights this struggle between Rome’s ancient history and its place in the contemporary now.
All in all my trip was amazing. I had never been to any of the cities I visited and they were eye opening, imaginative places with charm, character and personalities all their own. My best piece of advice when traveling abroad is to do some small stuff. Of course you should see the Doge’s Palace in Venice or the Mona Lisa in Paris but that’s only one piece of the magic of travel. Take a step back, have a drink on a beach pier in the dead of night. Look around you and appreciate the windows, the doors, the small things that exist everywhere but appreciate how they exist wherever you may be. You will always know you saw the David or the Duomo but those details fade into fact. What I hold on to, what I will remember most is having way-too-big Heinekens on a beach pier in Jesolo, Italy; my friend Tess singing “The Sound of Music” in the hills of Swiss Alps; and my weird fascination with windows and patterns.