Then & There – a Vintage Travel Podcast

Tune in for story time straight from the pages of Historic Travel Narratives published from 1600s to the turn of the last century. Join author Kerry E McKenna as she reads from books that transport us across ancient lands in the time before air travel. First up: A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland by Dr. Samuel Johnson, pub 1775.

Peek over hills with intrepid explorers from their own journals. Discover obscure ports of call and “strange” cultural backwaters as described in a time before Google Street View. We are armchair rovers who take their journeys from the comforts of our modern firesides.

The format is brief. Each episode includes 20 minutes of story reading, and sometimes 10 of local interest, personal stories by a “live” guest about the place as they experienced it, or perhaps a tutorial on how to pronounce Welsh for instance. Listeners are encouraged to suggest places they’d like to explore.

Why the past? Because these authors are not here to sell a hotel. They come for an old-fashioned visit. Call it Time Travel, these historic stories set our imagination toward wonder, relaxation and nostalgia in a way that transports us to being “then” as well as there, when we took time to explore. We may slow down and learn something of ourselves.

I’m Kerry, the Bard of the program, and I’ll see you then and there!

dreams creativity performance
Author Kerry E. McKenna, 9yo as Dolly Parton for Halloween

Future Travels in preparation:
Tour in Wales by Thomas Pennant, pub 1810
Vanished Towers and Chimes of Flanders, by George Wharton Edwards, 1916
Sketching Rambles in Holland, by George H. Boughton, ARA, 1885…

…and you’re right, my interests lay to Europe initially, but Egypt, South America, early Americas, Japan, etc. could all be fair game by listener suggestion!

In Providence, Rhode Island, many thanks to What Cheer Writer’s Club for their podcasting guidance and to the librarians at the Providence Athenaeum for their vast collection of travel narrative, research help and encouragement.

EXCERPT from the First Episode (describing Fife shore across the water from Edinburgh):
“The roads are neither rough nor dirty; and it affords a southern stranger a new kind of pleasure to travel so commodiously without the interruption of toll-gates.  Where the bottom is rocky, as it seems commonly to be in Scotland, a smooth way is made indeed with great labour, but it never wants repairs; ….The carriages in common use are small carts, drawn each by one little horse; and a man seems to derive some degree of dignity and importance from the reputation of possessing a two-horse cart.”

view north from Leith docks to coast of Fife, Scotland 2010, author’s photo