Traveling immerses us in the world, but sometimes in the less eventful moments in between destinations, we just need to escape. “The Layover” is a weekly roundup of books, music, podcasts, and other forms of entertainment brought to you by your favorite world travelers.
This week, we reached out to Dave Williams, a travel photographer, social media influencer, writer, educator, and blogger. Though he’s based in London, U.K., Dave’s work has been featured in international publications including National Geographic, Time, and Lonely Planet. Today, he discusses the entertainment he turns to during travel’s quieter moments.
“The Grid” is a weekly talk show for photography fans that is streamed through Facebook. It’s led by Scott Kelby, who is one of the best photographers in the world and certainly one of the most helpful. Since meeting in London three years ago, we have become good friends, and I consider myself lucky to have this legend in my life after having learned my craft largely from books adorned with his name.
Because I’m so far away from my workplace — 4,400 miles (7,080 kilometers), to be exact — and spend much of my time traveling, I like to catch up on “the Grid” on my weekends at home in sunny Bedfordshire, England. Every episode is saved on KelbyOne’s website, so it makes catching-up easy. The reason I enjoy the show so much is that Scott brings on some of the most amazing guests, so even the most seasoned photographers can pick up a few new tips and tricks — not to mention a good dose of humor.
“He Shoots, He Draws”
In this podcast, hosts Glyn Dewis and Dave Clayton fly the British flag to the creative world, and they make sure everyone sees it! Glyn is an industry-leading photographer, while Dave is a gifted graphic designer, and in addition to having a wealth of knowledge between them, they are also the best of friends. He Shoots, He Draws is one of the best podcasts out there, and if you’re in the creative industry, it needs to be on your playlist. I love tuning in to hear what these two have to say each week — and what their guests have to say, too. It’s a clever combination of education and humor, flooded with stories from experience in the creative industry. This podcast is the culmination of the duo’s years of friendship, and it benefits from their combined experience in photography, graphic design, teaching and training, social media, networking, business, and creativity as a whole! I cannot express just how amazing these lads are!
When I need a break from my creative endeavors, I land right here – 100 years in the past. There’s something captivating about British gangsters chasing an inordinate supply of cold, hard cash — plus there’s occasional murders, casual drug use, ungovernable police corruption, fixed horse races, and plenty of scandals to keep viewers on their toes. It’s an escape and a guilty pleasure rolled into one, and I can’t wait for the next season. In fact, I’ve even restarted the series from the beginning with the hope that when I reach the end, I’ll have a fresh supply of episodes waiting for me.
In my opinion, the BBC is hit or miss — and usually a miss for me, if I’m being honest. But this series has absolutely smashed it! After every episode, I just want to lord it around 1920s Birmingham on a horse, rocking a tweed outfit and a razor-adorned flat cap.
“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
Since I write so much in my daily life, reading material is something I’m very particular about. I can pick up a book and know immediately whether I’ll finish it or drop it a few chapters in. That said, when I commit to a book, I really dive into it. The most notable example that comes to mind is “the Alchemist” — a book that follows an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who, having tended his flock of sheep throughout his life, embarks on a long and arduous journey across southern Europe and North Africa in search of treasures he learned about from a prophetic series of dreams. Paulo Coehlo imparts some very wise and useful facts of life through this fantastic story. I think I’m right in saying that this is one of the world’s most translated pieces of literature, but more importantly, it’s one of the best reads on following your dreams and your heart.
Absorbing others’ works of creativity is great for passing time during layovers and flights, but I also find these moments to be great for fueling my own imagination. The lack of distraction caused by the removal from everyday life allows me to commit to expressing the things I’ve seen and experienced on my trip. Sometimes these words end up tucked away in a notebook, unseen by everyone but me, while other times, they end up on blogs or in articles for others to read. In either case, expressing myself through writing is a fulfilling way to spend my time between destinations, and I can’t recommend it enough. It doesn’t even require a lot of materials!
“The Greatest Showman” Soundtrack
The Greatest Showman soundtrack is so ridiculously anthemic and uplifting, I don’t know how I lasted so long without it! If musicals aren’t your thing, that’s fine — but before you judge me, note that this album spent 21 weeks at the number-one spot in the U.K. charts, making it the longest-running number-one soundtrack since “the Sound of Music.” The lyrics alone are inspiring and enlivening: “I am brave; I am bruised / I am who I’m meant to be; this is me.” It was on a recent trip to Iceland that I was most entertained by this wonderful ensemble. I often travel alone, and I’ll go vast distances in search of the vistas and circumstances I’m looking to document, so having something powerful to keep me entertained is key, and this soundtrack hits the nail square on the head in that respect. In my opinion, the noblest art is that of making others happy, and this album has succeeded in doing just that. No-one ever made a difference by being like everyone else. Simply fantastic work.
Have any on-the-road recommendations of your own? Let us know in the comments below!