Harmless acts of rebellion while travelling

2012-08-20 08:30

As travellers we're familiar with the bounty we get to take home with us once a trip has ended and we've boarded our final flight. There are memories, photographs, experiences, stories, souvenirs and gifts for family and friends. 

Sadly we don't always get to leave a little something of ourselves behind. And when we do, it's often accidental (heaven forbid your passport becomes a country's only memory of you!).

So, in the spirit of living a little, we've decided to explore a few harmless acts of rebellion and public expressions of creativity that to explore next time you feel like leaving a little piece of your heart and handiwork in the cities and towns you meet on your travels. 

Guerrilla Gardening

Photo: Inhabitat

What it is: Well, as the name suggests, it's a type of anti-establishment gardening. Basically it entails planting things in places you have no legal right to garden in, normally abandoned sites or run-down urban areas not cared for by anyone in particular. 

Who does it: A wide array of people participate in varying degrees of guerrilla gardening, from enthusiastic gardeners who spill over their legal boundaries unnoticed, to politically and environmentally-motivated activists who seek to provoke change. 

Where to do it: This depends greatly on how much time and energy you have to put into the effort. Obviously if you don't mind cutting into an itinerary or messing with sleeping patterns and have a supporter or two to help out, you can opt for a larger patch of land. But if you're pressed for time, doing something small like adding a few pretty flowers to the base of a side-walk tree could be surprisingly fulfilling. 

Best time of day: While you could risk a bit of guerrilla gardening in broad daylight, especially if you're part of a large group, it's probably safer (and more exciting) to wait for the cover of dark. 

Tips: Find out about nurseries in the vicinity of your accommodation and start scouting for a suitable location as soon as you arrive.

For more information, check out Guerillagardening.org

Yarn Bombing

Photo: Rates to go

What it is: A type of street art that employs colourful displays of knitting or crochet-work. Often found on sidewalk trees, street lamp poles and statues. The idea behind it is mainly to reclaim and personalise cold or sterile public places. 

Who does it: People who have an eye for aesthetics and a crafty hand. 

Where to do it: Any public object that seems a little dull could be the perfect recipient of some colourful yarns. Statues, lamp poles, fences, public phones, trees and parking meters are always popular options, but use your discretion and creative flair!

Best time of day: This depends on how fast you can work and how much you've prepared. If you're planning something big wait for night time to complete your project in peace. If you're just going to do something small and delicate, broad daylight shouldn't be a threat. 

Tips: Decide what object you want to yarn bomb before-hand, estimate the size of the ‘jersey' it will need and start knitting/crocheting beforehand... In fact, it's the perfect distraction for long flights, train-, bus- and taxi rides.

For more info, check out the Yarn Bombing Facebook page

Shoefiti / shoe tossing

Photo: Shutterstock

What it is: The tossing of a pair of shoes of which the laces have been tied together over telephone wires, power lines, trees, poles or other raised wires. There's a lot of mystery surrounding the practice and reasons as varied as the indication of gang activity, proximity of a crack house, show of power by bullies and a sign of respect to a deceased person have been cited as reasons for the occurrence. 
Whatever the case may be, we think it's a pretty cool thing to do with that pair of reliable shoes that accompanied you on your travels. 

Who does it: Well, it seems like no one really knows. Any ideas?

Where to do it: Any raised wire around a city. If you're nervous about the possibility of gangs coming to get you or bullies, find an obscure wire somewhere and get the hell out of there as soon as possible. 

Best time of day: Early morning. The light will also be great for taking a legendary photograph!

Tips: Keep your eyes peeled for tossed shoes already present in the city and find out what the meaning behind the occurrence could be. If it sounds a bit dodge, rather stay on the safe side and keep your shoes on your feet. If all seems clear, just make sure you won't regret having lost that pair of shoes later on!

Check out Shoefiti.com

Green graffiti/moss graffiti

Photo: Apartment Therapy

What it is: Something between graffiti and guerrilla gardening, you basically make a mixture using moss and other strange ingredients like buttermilk, take a few brushes and paint an artwork, slogan or word onto a wall. 

Who does it: Street artists with a heart for sustainability. 

Where to do it: A run-down and ugly wall in an urban area that receives a moderate amount of sunshine, but is also shaded much of the day. 

Best time of day: Painting your design at night is probably the best idea. If you'll be spending a bit of time in the city or town, return once or twice to sprits it with water. 

Tips: Make friends with a like-minded local who will tend to your moss graffiti nou and then once you've left. Check out WikiHow's tutorial to make Moss Graffiti.


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