Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Aaah ... home.

What gives value to travel is fear. It is the fact that, at a certain moment, when we are so far from our own country (a French newspaper acquires incalculable value. And those evenings when, in cafes, you try to get close to other men just to touch them with your elbow), we are seized by a vague fear, and an instinctive desire to go back to the protection of old habits. This is the most obvious benefit of travel. At that moment we are feverish but also porous, so that the slightest touch makes us quiver to the depths of our being. We come across a cascade of light, and there is eternity. This is why we should not say that we travel for pleasure. There is no pleasure in traveling, and I look upon it more as an occasion for spiritual testing. If we understand by culture the exercise of our most intimate sense - that of eternity - then we travel for culture. Pleasure takes us away from ourselves in the same way as distraction, in Pascal's use of the word, takes us away from God. Travel, which is like a greater and a graver science, brings us back to ourselves. Albert Camus, Notebooks.

C'est moi, Albert. C'est moi. Of course, not everyone need subscribe to this particular point of view. Here's hoping my friend Darko (self-professed reformed Eeyore) travels in a sublime absence of fear.

(And for those too busy to bother with an on-line translator, the above postcard translates to, "There is no shame in preferring happiness.")


DarkoV said...

Mr. WP,
I thank you for your kind thoughts. I feel like the bow of a just launched ship, champaigne still dripping off from the bottle smashed on me. As I slide backwards into that lovely abyss of travel, I'll think about Mr. Camus and stay away from driving in a Facel Vega Coupe with a publisher while I'm over there.

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Whisky Prajer said...

That car is the intellectual's equivalent of the Porsche Spyder, isn't it? Best to stick to Tatras while you're there, Darko!