Richard Narroway, I love your story! I wanted to put this comment directly under your blog article but could find no comment link to click, so I start a discussion of it here, using your article title.
I find in your Bachabout, and in your comparison to the Aboriginal Australian “Walkabout,” an interesting parallel to the European tradesman’s experience as a “journeyman,” which historically (if not so much anymore) was also a formal period of wandering, after an apprenticeship, gaining additional experience before presenting his masterpiece as the final test for admittance into the guild as a full Master of the trade. I suspect the modern English word for travel, “journey,” was derived from “jour” which, at least as I learned it in elementary French, means “day,” but day laborers in the trades were indeed wandering, and thus “journey” flowed out into the language.
Considering the Aboriginal heritage is of a nomadic or semi-nomadic traditional culture (especially before European contact), in which they were always very close to and dependent on the land and natural environment, their “Walkabout” was exactly the right transition from youthful apprenticeship into being recognized (and qualified) as a fully mature adult, competent in all the skills necessary to their way of life. It was their Journeyman experience into adulthood in their culture.
As an Australian musician, obviously moving into full mastery of your art, you here describe your own journeyman’s experience and see it in parallel to the oldest version of that phase of life known in Australia. And so the historic memory, passed on by ritual and custom and language, lives on in how you brought joy and the healing power of music to so many people in your country!Tweet
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