The Fair Folk podcast, hosted by Danica Boyce, is “devoted to bringing folk tradition to life” and features numerous episodes on the traditional music of Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and other places of interest to this blog. It’s not her first, nor her latest, but as an introduction to her work I would suggest The Wailing Of The Old Timers – Tvísöngur and Iceland’s Hidden Folk Music Past as an example of the deep research Danica shares with her listeners.
The concept behind Lawrence Millman’s book Last Places: A Journey to the North is such a perfect fit to my interests, and this blog, that I knew I had to read it. Millman endeavors to follow the trail of the Vikings, traveling from Norway to Newfoundland via Shetland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland, mostly via sea and foot, camping along the way. It’s a personal travelog, from an opinionated and seasoned traveler with lots of stories to tell. It’s not his first time in any of these locations, which is perhaps what frees him up to seek the most remote, difficult, or forgotten corners of these already far flung islands.
There are places you go where the purpose of the trip is to say you’ve been, to others, or to yourself. Perhaps you have a bucket list, of places you’d regret if you never saw them with your own eyes, and checking things off is the goal. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of travel, but it tends to have a beginning and an end, a wonderful experience that is now a cherished memory. But there’s another kind of travel, where the places you go awaken something inside of you. The trip is just the start, a catalyst for continued discovery of a country, a geography, a history, or a culture. These places are sparks: of fascination, of discovery, of pathways for learning that may have no end. That’s the kind of travel I love, and this blog was born out of a desire to share those journey’s with you. I’ve found my travel muse by looking north, to the islands of the North Atlantic.