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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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


A short detour here at the Thumbnail Traveler. I've been asked a couple of times if I recognize the poem used in Volvo's television commercial for the Volvo S90 -- the focus of the piece is the open road, and a narration about the freedom of driving.

The poem, Walt Whitman's Song of the Open Road, was originally written and published in the mid1850s, when the open road would far more effectively be traveled by a horse than it would be luxury sports sedan.

The sentiment holds, however, for anyone who is familiar with wanderlust, and the need to be out on the open road heading for somewhere, anywhere.It's a poem any traveler needs to have in their repertoire, not for memorization, but perhaps for motivation.

The car company's television commercial borrows a handful of lines and re-edits them together in such a way as to be more representative of the mood and image they are promoting for the vehicle they are advertising.

But since it's a beautiful poem and resides in the public domain I am copying the first stanza below.

If you would like to read entirety of the poem or perhaps learn a bit more about poetry in general, The Poetry Foundation is a good place to start.

And with that, the first part of Whitman's opus:


Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road, 
Healthy, free, the world before me, 
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose. 

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune, 
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, 
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms, 
Strong and content I travel the open road. 

The earth, that is sufficient, 
I do not want the constellations any nearer, 
I know they are very well where they are, 
I know they suffice for those who belong to them. 

(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens, 
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go, 
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them, 
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.) 

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