Friday, 23 June 2017
A Year of Enchantment
Nowadays, there are more young men and women taking a year out, before moving onto college and university. Some even take a break from regular employment to travel the world, all wanting to experience different cultures, customs and sights, broadening their horizons.
Everything they need to know about taking a gap-year is obtainable instantly via the web and the extensive range of well-written travel guide books that are now available.
However, wanderlust is nothing new, there have been many travel adventurers. Many that we read about historically are predominantly male, but one female I came across very recently was, Constance Frederica Gordon-Cumming from Altyre, Morayshire, Scotland.
Constance's lust for travel came at the age of thirty-one after a visit to her sister's home in India. You could say that there is nothing unusual about this.But the year was 1868, when women did not have a vote, were expected to be barefoot, pregnant and chained to the kitchen sink. While she didn't class herself as an adventurer, she most certainly had an adventurous spirit.
Travelling thousands of miles by ship, at times never setting ashore for weeks at a time, Constance wrote in journal form about her experiences and observations. Her detailed guides were published and also contained copies of her sketches and paintings, illustrating her travels in the absence of photographs.
Each trip she took in as much of the country as was possible and when in India she visited the Himalayas, this she said was her 'year of enchantment.' If she had written nothing else about her travels, those three words to me say everything about the time she had.
Books by Constance Frederica Gordon-Cumming
In the Hebrides
In the Himalayas and on India Plains
A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War
Granite Crags of California