Yes many people where living as "herders", I am not disputing that. Just said that the "travel" they did was mostly in un-populated areas. So they would see very little different cultures other then their own. Just the same as people living stationary. There where also lots of people living this way in Scotland and Ireland.
Yes a very nice article about one, or maybe several people working together. But of course you can always find exceptions to the norm. And I am sure you could find many more artist that did travel. Just saying that for most of them, finding a rich benefactor was probably the dream come true.
Yes cathedrals do take a loooong time to build, one of the more extreme once is Notre-Dame took ~600 years to build. So given how many people lived and died at the same place. And given that only the few masters and there apprentices would move on to the next place when time was due eventually. As most manual laborers would be recruited on site and not move with the masons.
The open-field system. I found was mere a variant on the more common feudalistic system. Probably the peasants there would have a slight degree more freedom. It really only looks like the difference is how the farmland is used / distributed. There is still a person controlling the land and the peasants "renting" it. Paying with produce and labor. Regarding the market days away. Yes most travel this time takes way longer then "normal" due to so pore quality of the roads. So a trip that takes days might in fact not be very far away at all. Given the travel to meat new culture / people little to no effect. It was not until around 1800-1900 that we learned to build proper roads that could rival the old roman roads.
Yes, sailing and trading go and in hand in the Mediterranean, and the other places for that matter to. I am just saying that most ships where local fishermen. So they basically do 0 travelling. Also I have tried to look for a number / guesstimate of the number of ships used for trade. But alas I have not been able to find anything. But I think a good reference could be the Spanish Armada, being such a massive fleet it only totaled a mere 130 ships. And that was Spain at it´s hay day. So sure there where a lot of ships trading, and each ship have a lot of sailors. But all in all I do not think that it really is such a high number. The drawback to sailing also is you only impact the ports you dock in. As opposite the merchant traveling by land that moves through a lot of towns / villages. But you can cover greater distances, meaning more exotic places. So probably it evens out. I also looked a little bit further back, back to Carthage. And I found a reference to 200 ships supporting their armie during the Pyrrhic War. These where also smaller and warships not trading vessels. Just trying to find any reference points. =)
Yes again there will be exceptions. But the norm is that there really is no industry to speak of in the towns. So people moving there will be unemployed. Even in the text Stadtluft macht frei it said that because of this it created favorable conditions for revolts to take place. I would argue that this is because the people was unemployed and unhappy, free but ultimately unemployed and unhappy. And yes I totally agree that these people would take any type of work to be had.
Very nice discussing things with you I have to say. So nice to have a normal civil discussion. Unlike most thing on FB where it usually ends with insults. =)