Saturday, August 8, 2015

Lady Lamb, "Billions of Eyes" + Ibn Battuta

I've spent a lot of time on the road this year, and now I'm back in Singapore. At the end of my journey I was listening to a lot of Lady Lamb, and particularly Billions of Eyes, which has a lot of travel-related lyrics. And really there's a lot of lyrics -- I admire how Aly Spaltro just packs a lot of her songs full of as much nonrepetitive lyrical content as she can.
The kind of high I like is when I barely make the train
And the people with a seat smile big at me because they know the feeling
And for a millisecond we share a look like a family does
Like we have inside jokes
Like we could call each other by little nicknames
I think I've started smiling at strangers a little more often when something like this happens and I feel like smiling at them. Anyway, this video has the lyrics. "It's June where you sleep, July where I land" was one of the travel lines that really resonated with me.
Ibn Battuta was one of the great travelers of the medieval world, visiting places from West Africa to Sumatra in the 1300s. He describes how he left Morocco to visit Mecca in the beginning of his travels:
I set out alone, having neither fellow-traveller in whose companionship I might find cheer, nor caravan whose part I might join, but swayed by an overmastering impulse within me and a desire long-cherished in my bosom to visit these illustrious sanctuaries. So I braced my resolution to quit my dear ones, female and male, and forsook my home as birds forsake their nests. My parents being yet in the bonds of life, it weighed sorely upon me to part from them, and both they and I were afflicted with sorrow at this separation.
I like this line he wrote at the end about his life:
I have indeed—praise be to God—attained my desire in this world, which was to travel through the Earth