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Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Article written by Raymond Strachan

Power Travelling and Touring - 10 Factors in Enjoying Stuff

Before I start, an equation:

Stuff = Masterpieces(ie statues, paintings, frescos etc) + iconic historical buildings + unbelievable natural and manmade beauty.

When at school in the sixties and early seventies, History was my least favourite subject and I only did Modern History (from the time of the French Revolution) - Ancient History was not even on the radar. It did not help that our history teacher had an unrivalled ability to send insomniacs sleep as soon as he opened his mouth. Subsequently a lot of my history education was spent in a daze, dates becoming something like a stale alphabet soup in a can without a can opener.

It ranks as one of my luckiest moments wen I heard that I did not fail Modern History and actually achieved a 4, (out of a possible 7) which was one better than the 3 (pass conceded) that one particular wild dream produced. Sure, I did a little history of Architecture in my failed attempt at a building degree, but even then, there was very little context and I really did not have any interest.

Now, after having spent almost seven weeks in diverse parts of Europe, I feel that I have been put through a crash course in Art and History. Like some 14 year old whizz kid who has completed a university degree in 6 months. Up every set of stairs, around every alley corner lurks a history lesson complete with real artifacts, paintings, sculptures, documents and other Stuff.

I can clearly remember when this idea really hit me. When in the Blois Castle which had been built in various stages from around 1100 ad through to about the 18th century, There was a 300 year old painting of a famous event and in it were a remarkable set of marble stairs which I had walked on about 5 minutes before. It was a good thing that this realisation struck me, but with all good things, you can have too much Stuff.

Since exploring a lot of Stuff (eg. many museums, churches, natural wonders, art works, palaces, forts, basilicas and mosques), and because of my analytical bent, I have identified a number of key points in the viewing of Stuff, which can be tracked and calibrated, producing a result which might prove useful in enjoying Stuff to the max. As a way of making this more scientific I have also noted the average times of the various stages that this process goes through. This may be of interest to anyone who is planning a trip, vacation or scientific expedition.

  1. A feeling of awe and incredulity is experienced during the first 6.5 minutes of immersion in the viewing experience.
  2. This is likely to continue for some time at a reduced level as you view and experience more.
  3. An appreciation of the effort, skill and/or the forces that came into play to create this Stuff.
  4. This will continue on each occasion you view or experience something new about the Stuff.
  5. It will continue strongly for a maximum of 1.5 hours at which point each subsequent experience will diminish in intensity.
  6. This diminution of enjoyment and appreciation will continue for exactly 23.5 minutes at which point enjoyment ceases.
  7. Depending on the individual, the time required to reach the "I've got to get outta here!" point could be up to 22 minutes or as short as 22 secs.
  8. Although this time varies between individuals it stays exactly the same each time for each individual.
  9. Using the above data, you can determine how long you can stay in any place where there is Stuff.
  10. The only variable missing is what is commonly known as the "wow" factor. The times above refer to Stuff with a WOW factor of 10.

    The times above can be adjusted by multiplying with the WOW factor and dividing by 10. This information could save you serious mental stress if used in the right way. Unfortunately I have only worked this out after going through all the data that I collected over the seven week holiday period. I could have saved myself and brenda a lot of pain and suffering from looking at too much Stuff.

    One of the big problems is that all big Stuff has lot of smaller stuff with it or inside it. Subsequently you end up looking at all this Stuff for hours on end. After a while it knocks the stuffing out of you. This is why I have developed this formula based the the criteria above:

    Stuff x (WOW/10) x (120 + RWF*) mins = STUFFED

    *Reverse WOW factor(expressed in minutes)

    So before you end up telling museum staff and street vendors to "Get Stuffed" take a calculator with you whenever you visit tourist or historical icon and do the math. Stuff like this can be useful.
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