Taoism is not so much a religion as a way of life. It is a philosophy, the only indigenous Chinese philosophy, that serves as a guide for followers in their journeys through life. As the name of this blog implies, I also see the possibility of translating Taoist teachings into my photographic practice. I also find it especially helpful when I set out on my travels whether those travels take me a short distance from my home or around the world.
|The Road Ahead - Inis Oirr, 2009
I think the most important element of a Taoist approach to travel is to remove the blinders. Blinders are used on horses, like the one on the left, to focus their attention on the road ahead. Blinders keep them from becoming distracted by things. I, on the other hand, want to be distracted! I don't want to be so goal oriented and destination focused that I miss what I am passing through to get there! Taoism asks us to live in the moment, to be present in that place at that time.
On my way to the holy well on Inis Oirr a few years ago, I made the young man taking me there in his horse cart stop at least a dozen times. He was more use to taking people directly to the spot and back in rather a quick trip. I felt a bit guilty of depriving him of his takings so I told him I'd pay him extra for all these stops but it was worth it for me.
It's good to have some general goals when you travel but remember that they aren't written in stone. Remain flexible and open to the spontaneous, the serendipitous encounter that will get you side-tracked...you never know where it will lead you and what wondrous things you might encounter. The video below is a great introduction to this approach to travel...