Adventures, Camp Different, Camping, TAXA Outdoors, Why we camp

Why We Camp #11 – Memories Contained and Hadrian’s Villa

Are you familiar with Hadrian’s Villa?

It was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the second and third decades of the second centuiry AD. It is just outside of Rome. I think you all know that I have been an architect for most of my professional life, be it for earth or for space and now for roaming about. I seem to have written more than one term paper with bricks as the subject. Architects generally like Hadrian as he is known for being a designer himself. He was also a great traveller (leader of widespread military campaigns. I am unsure about his vacation habits). His Villa is know as a ‘collection’ of his memories in built form, with architectural references and inspiration to places and culutres he experienced.



I think this built ‘collection of memories is poetic and important. I have sometimes written a one sentence design manifesto of:


By this I mean that every building contains life and aggregates memory. The nature of the memory changes over time, depending on whether it is a public or private place, over what has happened to you when in it. This is really basic, not complicated, and important to understand to understand how I think.  It is about how one could be holding hands with your college girlfriend in Piazza San Marco in Venice, then have a huge screaming fight in front of 10,000 tourists who look on aghast, and create a memory that is related to a spot. This did not happen to me but I saw it happen. Memories all around. They did not look like they were having fun. Maybe that couple can look back and laugh now (“forsan et haec meminisse iuvabit” – Virgil). They made memories too.

Different trip, honeymoon,  but it was also in Venice that my wife got pooped on by a pigeon and where the nice waiter with a white napkin explained that this was good luck. Maybe ‘explained’ is the wrong word. I mean it is kind of more obviously bad luck. It did make her feel a bit better, and I have repeated this bit of wisdom more than once.

It is about the place you lived when you first brought a newborn home from the hospital. Or someone you know died. Or you smiled yesterday. Or the Archbishop of Canterbury fell down.  The concept is as poetic as you think of your life, which I would hazard you should try to make a poem (and sometimes a silly one). You make memories everywhere. Some places are more beautiful than others. Some places are remembered for their horrors. Sometimes these horrors become good memories as they are challenges overcome on the way to somewhere else (see loading dock below).

Do you know how sometimes, during very tense emotional relatioship sorts of conversations, one can say something and see by the expression on the other’s face that you have just said something truly stupid/unthinking/blind/hurtful? I did that one time, well more than once, but one time in Lower Manhattan on a loading dock late at night. I said something. The other person gave a look of true horror and sorrow. I said, with some angst, ‘WHAT?’.

She said there was a rat right behind me.


We moved I guess, and continued talking. That is not part of the memory.

Are we camping yet?

Yes. Of course we are. Tents and trailers and campfires and the cars on a roadtrip are all containers for life. They are all sorts of Hadrian’s Villa. I was thiunking about all this and more as we designed the Cricket and the TigerMoth and the next insects coming down the line.

TAXA was surprised to hear, actually to see first, that a Cricket is being used in the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA)’s recent advertisements. Its a little blurry but presumably that couple is making memories around the campfire. It may of course mean that they are each looking at their smartphones and not talking, laughing, discussing anything at all (until their batteries run out). I like Go have an adventure / Go write your story / Go make a memory better. I like AV (Adventure Vehicle) better than RV. However, I like knowing that folks are making memories in places designed for making memories. That is what I see when I look at the photo.


Here is the video that somewhere might be on TV right now.

A Cricket and a TigerMoth are on their way to Japan. Exciting. Crazy. Part of our insect based plans for the future – right sized adventures for all!

(I bet there is a Japanese equivalent to Hadrian’s Villa that I ought to learn about right away.



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