Wisdom from the road- Paul Theroux

bayon copy copyTravel is at its most rewarding when it ceases to be about your reaching a destination and becomes indistinguishable from living your life. -Paul Theroux, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

In travel, it often happens that we objectify destinations in such a way that they are reduced to a mere series of items on an a to-do list.  We go to great lengths to experience everything that we’ve been made to think is obligatory- the ruins, the old churches, the traditional foods, etc.- and yet, by the end of all this, the feeling is that, despite our efforts, we haven’t really felt the truth of the place.  We leave with a sense a vague sense of lacking, rooted, I think, in our inability to transcend our role as outsider.

Contrary to what guide books would like us to think, the depth of our travels is not defined by the number of items we are able to check off a list, but our willingness and ability to allow our whole selves to disappear in, and be absorbed by, an unfamiliar place; essentially, to become one with the landscape.  Viewed in this light, travel becomes less an act of conquest than a statement of trust, an acceptance of vulnerability, and a display of solidarity with the unknown, if only for the briefest moment.

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