Engaging with a landscape while travelling slowly takes many forms. It can be about sounds – the sound of a bird calling, the rustle of an animal in the bush, the gurgle of water, the call of a farmer rounding up cattle.
It can be about smells – the smell of summer rain, the smell of a bush in spring, the smell of eucalyptus leaves in the height of summer. It can be about feel – the cool of a microclimate that you ride through, the feel of a hill on your legs, the feel of the pack on your back or the paddles in your hand. And it can be about sight – seeing the stars in the night sky, the sunset, the rolling hills, the mist rising from the water early in the morning.
Of course, it is often all of these – an integration of senses embracing a scene that remains in our experiences, our memories and our thoughts.
There’s a significant difference between travelling through a landscape and travelling in a landscape. It’s amazing what difference one word makes.
For me, travelling in a landscape implies more than a focus on a destination – travelling to get somewhere. Travelling in a landscape implies destination and means are interconnected – the engagements of the landscape and its communities occur from beginning to end of time ‘away’.