Traveling the world as an adventure (or a luxury) undertaken by young adults has become a well-known part of life of today’s younger generations. Multiple blogs are filled with online diaries, pictures, videos, links, and other pieces of information that are shared with friends and the world wide web for various reasons. Rick Mereki, Tim White, und Andrew Lees have been on a six-week travel around the world and made three short movies with impressions from the eleven countries they visited. Each movie has been framed by a specific theme, and they all highlight (indirectly) many aspects of traveling the world and understanding its heterogeneity and complexity – both, as I would say, with regard to leisure activities as well as research.
This movie shows us every possible type of transportation and a lot of movement. However, it is apparent that not every move is part of traveling. You do not only want to go from one place to another. A certain place also wants to be experienced. And this is possible by putting your feet on the ground. With respect to studying the urban fabric of a particular place, we might want to think about an experience by moving. Or to put it into other words: the urban fabric wants to be walked on, passed by, crossed etc.
While research on organic food, green labels, and fair trade has increasingly become prominent in economic geography, the social role of food and the practices or customs of producing, preparing, and consuming it, can be considered as one of the most neglected issues or research perspectives in the studying of places. Activities related to eating do not only include work but also often pauses: situations of slowing down and taking in impressions of a certain place. The way we think about, judge, and remember places is heavily influenced by the food we consume in them. It is fundamentally important to keep this in mind and to ‘consume’ consciously if we want to reach a good understanding not only of places but also of our ideas and conceptualizations of these places.
If you want to get to know a certain place you have to make an effort. You have to invest yourself – otherwise, you will only ‘enjoy’ prepared generic experiences for a place’s typical visitor. Learning something in and/or about particular places is a question of comprehending in the most basic sense. It is, then, a question of delivering messages and, on the next stage, communicating with each other. If these three steps are taken successfully, the final point of understanding can be reached. But learning and understanding (in) a place necessitate investing all your senses. Furthermore, it means taking the risk of making mistakes. And it is an interconnected process of learning and teaching. This is of high relevance to both leisure-time visitors and on-the-ground researchers, and cutting edge studies on the mobility of knowledge (see for instance Peck, Urry, or McCann) tell us a lot about this aspect.