I am frequently overwhelmed by a strong nostalgia of a place I've visited, and I yearn to return, if only for a few minutes. I'm not quite that rich, so I go searching for the next best thing: armchair traveling. Sure, my DVD collection is filled with beautiful travelogues by Rick Steves, Burt Wolf and Samantha Brown, but most travelers would admit that those polished, edited, scripted creations shot only on good weather days and are vastly different from simply being there.
That is when I turn to Hitodori.
At the time of this blog post, Hitodori had 1,252 uploads on his YouTube page. What are they, you ask? Seven to ten minute chunks of a stationary camera set up on street corners and public spaces all over the world. These videos don't have narrative or music; they're simply the experience of being in that space. Sounds of local transportation, bird calls, conversations in many languages...very unique and true-to-life characteristics of that place. It's as if you've stepped through your monitor and sat on that sidewalk for a few minutes. To a wanderluster, that is better than therapy.
I can listen to unique street crossing blips in Sydney:
The squeak of double decker buses in London:
Lively street music in New York City:
The sound of high-heeled shoes on cobblestones in Italy:
I can even experience the personalities of places I've never been before. This morning alone, I've witnessed car horn symphonies in Mumbai and Cairo, the celebration of football fans in Berlin, masked commuters hurrying to work in Tokyo, a call to prayer in Istanbul, the overwhelming majority of men walking the streets of Bahrain, and the fact that even if you're in Mexico, you can't escape the Black Eyed Peas.
I also can't help but wonder what takes this person to all these places so frequently...