Travel at a Natural Pace; Enjoy the Journey

A Day in Slab Square, Nottingham

When we are not travelling we apply a similarly mindful approach to local visits. We practice proper awareness even when we are in our home town. Indeed we use it as an opportunity to hone our  observation skills.

Feeding the pigeons, NottinghamAs a photographer I set out to spend a Saturday in Nottingham's Old Market Square, known locally as Slab Square. I was there for eight hours to practice my skills as a documentary and street photographer; to observe and record everyday activity; to really see what was happening.

Many photographers are wary of street photography. Me too, so  part of my purpose was to get me out of my comfort zone, to challenge myself and my preconceptions. I was surprised that at no time during the day was I challenged about what I was doing. Rather people were interested, even pointing out photographic opportunities.

Checking a selfie, NottinghamIn my time in the Square I was asked by six or eight groups of visitors to take photographs on their own cameras and 'phones. I had long conversations with other photographers and passers-by who just wanted to know more about Nottingham, the Square and Council House. I was even asked for advice on what camera to buy.

BMX tricks, NottinghamSome teenagers who were practicing tricks on their BMX bicycles asked if I would take photographs of them - they were keen to see what they looked like. Later, I had a polite emails from them chasing me to upload the pictures even before I had got home. I had a complimentary thank you note when I did get them posted. It was not the quiet day on my own that I had expected!

My day epitomised what we advocate about slow travel. It is about getting to know a place and its people. It also emphasised how little we often know about our locality, it is all too easy to take it for granted. But perhaps most importantly it made the point that strangers are not scary (in the main); indeed it would seem to be true that "strangers are just friends that one has not yet met".

Accordion playing busker, NottinghamMore pictures from the day can be seen on my online photography portfolio. Another interesting take on making new connections can be seen on Alex Wilson's personal blog.Photographing the Council House, Nottingham

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