About Me

My photo
Welcome to the online blog for traveler/writer/photographer Steven Barber. Come in. Relax. Take off your shoes and socks -- or any other article of clothing, this is the internet. Have a look around. I hope to intrigue, amuse, entertain, and maybe provoke you just a little. I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


“I’ve been homesick for countries I’ve never been, and longed to be where I couldn’t be.”       John Cheever

I was wandering through a very dangerous store a few weeks ago -- an antique and collectible shop in the middle of Sydney's The Rocks neighborhood. This sort of place, both the neighborhood as well as the shop -- full of memories and trivia and echoes of the past -- is always fascinating to me. I tend to see every object as having its own private and unique personal story. Each item tells a tale, and if it's the sort of thing that resonates with my psyche it immediately attracts my attention.

I am fascinated with, among many other things, art, travel, maritime subjects, the romantic images of the past, and Art Deco. In my mind's eye the true romance of airline travel can be summed up in the mid-thirties and -forties travel posters with their art deco-images and promise of adventure. It's a romance we are sorely lacking these days. Even thought travel still affords us the opportunity to go to these exotic places and explore.

(Admittedly, you're likely to find a McDonald's or Starbuck's almost anywhere, but by avoiding these reminders of American cultural impact and finding a local restaurant or coffee house you can still evoke those bygone days of adventure travel.)

The dream....
Sydney has always held a special spot in my imagination and romantic view of the world. My father, a career Navy man and icon of my Raman wandering spirit, put into port there on several occasions, and it always seemed to me that this was a far off and romantic city on the edge of the world.

As I was wandering the store, experiencing Sydney in person for the very first time, I happened across an old-style chrome metal Art Deco model of a Constellation airliner, with plastic discs to represent the turning propellers on her wings. The model is perched on a half-spherical base with a global map etched in it.

One more detail to make this pertinent: my own first travel in an airliner -- at least the one which has flashes of my own memory and is not strictly anecdotally relayed to me by my parents -- was on a SuperConstellation bound from San Francisco to Tokyo, via Anchorage. My mother had supplied my older sister and I with a handful of toys to keep us entertained for the some twenty hour journey. My younger sister was still a babe in arms.

The likely reality...
So I that moment of seeing the Art Deco Super Connie in a store in Sydney I knew I had to have it.

It's interesting to me how these things have resonance for us as travelers. Little icons and items which, for reasons almost unexplainable to others, carry a meaning or a memory and are a little fun to have around.

Looking back through your own past I'm certain you have something which would be equally evocative and important. To me, it's a way to keep some of that early romance, early idealism, in the modern age of 21st century high tech cabins and a shareholder-approved flying bus mentality.

Keep the romance alive. It's a lot more fun that way.

No comments:

Post a Comment