Mar 12, 2010
Paul Theroux is one of the travel writers that most inspired me. To be honest it was not for indications on where to go and how. In his pages I rather found a reassuring common feeling with the solitary traveler, a coincidence with his vision of the social folds and his realistic schedule (more focused on the experience of traveling then on a deep exploration of single realities, a predilection I share). So I was very happy to find his latest book "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star", the diary of his journey retracing, after 30 years, his Asian journey narrated in "The Great Railway Bazaar". He wanted to see how the world had changed, but, more then this, he wanted to discover how himself had changed the perception of his experiences. This is something too interesting for me as well, after 30 years on the road.
He writes something that may seems an addendum to my previous post. "The world of settled people has evolved into a world of people wishing to emigrate. There was hardly any distinction, and not much romance, in being a traveler. It was now a world of travelers, or people dreaming of a life elsewhere-far away". Well, change the "travel" with "photography" and there you go: the two components of my profession seriously jeopardized!
But he also writes: "Travel means living among strangers, their characteristic stinks and sour perfumes, eating their food, listening to their dramas, enduring their opinions, often with no language in common, being always on the move toward an uncertain destination, creating an itinerary that is continually shifting, sleeping alone, inventing the trip, cobbling together a set of habits in order to stay sane and rational, finding ways to fill the day and be enlightened, avoiding danger, keeping out of trouble, (..) writing everything down in order to remember, reflecting on where I am and what I'm doing."
Who wants to give this up?
at 4:00 PM