Thanks to today’s technology, we can hit the road and watch (or read) what we want, when we want, and just about anywhere we go. Passing time has never been more chock full of options.
I may be late to the realization party, but up until last week, I thought of the availability of online streaming while traveling only as a source of entertainment. I have learned that it can serve as a sort of vacation enrichment program in a box.
I recently visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to roam through the rooms, the public spaces, and the grounds. Through an incredibly well done guided tour, I learned much about Wright the man and his vision. But I wanted to know more.
While wandering through the Taliesin gift shop after the tour, I happened to see a Ken Burns’ DVD on the life of Frank Lloyd Wright for sale. I was certain that a Burns’ documentary would provide the sort of expanded view I was seeking. I hoped the documentary was available online, and I’m happy to report that it was.
That night, as the sun was setting in the Midwestern sky, I sat on the back porch of a historic inn, with feet up and relaxed from a glorious day. It was time to fire up the tablet and learn more about this American icon. What a pleasure it was to be able to watch the entire documentary. While the live tour allowed time to savor the space and the beauty of the countryside, feel the history, and experience the physical and psychological reactions to Wright’s built environments, the video provided a more in-depth exploration of his early career, his philosophies, and failings–as well as successes. It was as if the live guided tour and the documentary were magical collaborative partners.
It wouldn’t have been the same if I waited until I got home to watch this documentary. I may have even forgotten about it. The sense of my tour experience would have faded. I may have even decided that I didn’t want to take the time, wasn’t as interested anymore. There would be something more pressing to do.
Watching the documentary was a delightful and satisfying way to end the day. Online streaming will now be more than an entertainment option when I’m on the road. It will be a very valuable and treasured travel companion.