In the travellers' world, social media have enlarged the generation gap. The internet has brought a change in the very concept of travel as a process taking one away from the familiar into the unknown. Now the familiar is not left behind and the unknown has become familiar even before one leaves home. Unpredictability - to my generation the salt that gave travelling its savour - seems unnecessary if not downright irritating to many of the young. The sunset challenge - where to sleep? - has been banished by the ease of booking into a hostel or organised campsite with a street plan provided by the internet. Moreover, relatives and friends evidently expect regular reassurance about the traveller's precise location and welfare - and vice versa, the traveller needing to know that all is well back home. Notoriously, dependence on instant communication with distant family and friends is known to stunt the development of self-reliance. Perhaps that is why, amongst younger travellers, one notices a new timidity.
I cannot assume emotions I do not feel, and must describe Jerusalem as I found it. Since being here, I have read the accounts of several travellers, and in many cases the devotional rhapsodies - the ecstacies of awe and reverence - in which they indulge, strike me as forced and affected.
I have always considered it a beautiful metaphor that Cervantes had no fixed address in Spain. He is thus everywhere and nowhere. There are a number of sites connected with his life, but none attract hordes of travellers the way Stratford-upon-Avon and the Globe Theatre in London draw Shakespeare aficionados.
[Drawing should be] a journey of pleasure. Each step must present to the travellers' view objects that are eminently interesting, varied in their appearances, and attracting to such a degree as to excite in each individual thus happily employed the desire of knowing all respecting all he sees.
John James Audubon
All men have the stars," he answered, "but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travellers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all the stars are silent. You--you alone--will have the stars as no one else has them--
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
You don't know about the other travellers you meet and they in turn have no idea who you are, and that is truly special, for there isn't any detrimental preconceived notions about the other, and in this space there is room for understanding and healing. When you backpack, for the first time in a long time, you feel like you belong and are connected to not only with the world, but also with your inner self.
Our moment had passed somehow. I was different. He was, too. Without our "madness" to unite us, there wasn't anything much there. Or maybe too much had happened in too short a time. It's like when you take a trip with someone you don't know very well. Sometimes you can get very close very quickly, but then after the trip is over, you realise all that was a false sort of closeness. An intimacy based on the trip more than the travellers, if that makes any sense.
They were now both ready, not to begin from scratch, but to continue with a love that had survived for thirteen years in hibernation. They were no longer travellers without baggage. They were no longer twenty. They'd both been around the block a bit and had suffered without the other. They'd both lost their way without the other. Each had tried to find love with other people. But all that was now finished.
Was awakened in the night to a strain of music dying away, - passing travellers singing. My being was so expanded and infinitely and divinely related for a brief season that I saw how unexhausted, how almost wholly unimproved, was man's capacity for a divine life. When I remembered what a narrow and finite life I should anon awake to!
Henry David Thoreau
Conversation is a traffick; and if you enter into it, without some stock of knowledge, to ballance the account perpetually betwixtyou,--the trade drops at once: and this is the reasonwhy travellers have so little [good] conversation with natives,--owing to their [the natives'] suspicionthat there is nothing to be extracted from the conversationworth the trouble of their bad language.
If you would learn to speak all tongues and conform to the customs of all nations, if you would travel farther than all travellers, be naturalized in all climes, and cause the Sphinx to dash her head against a stone, even obey the precept of the old philosopher, and Explore thyself. Herein are demanded the eye and the nerve. Only the defeated and deserters go to the wars, cowards that run away and enlist.
Henry David Thoreau
A great silence has descended on me for the last six months. I am as silent as an Arab in the desert, as dry, thirsty, and full of wonder and rumours which do not materialize into camels or travellers at all, but just vanish into the silent spaces from where they came. I expect this is a good thing though it is extremely irritating - the brink of a voice and never a voice.
Prayer cleanses from sin, drives away temptations, stamps out persecutions, comforts the fainthearted, gives new strength to the courageous, brings travellers safely home, calms the waves, confounds robbers, feeds the poor, overrules the rich, lifts up the fallen, supports those who are falling, sustains those who stand firm.
We're living in world, stars and dust Between heaven 'n all that surrounds us We're travellers here, spirits passing through And the love we give, is all that will endure Just like a rose after the rain Something beautiful remains Tears will leave no stains Time will ease the pain For every life that fades Something beautiful remains
There is the grand truth about Nathaniel Hawthorne. He says NO! in thunder; but the Devil himself cannot make him say yes. For all men who say yes, lie; and all men who say no,why, they are in the happy condition of judicious, unincumbered travellers in Europe; they cross the frontiers into Eternity with nothing but a carpet-bag,that is to say, the Ego. Whereas those yes-gentry, they travel with heaps of baggage, and, damn them! they will never get through the Custom House.
lots of things happen in our lives without any apparent justification. but whatever happens to us, takes us one step ahead in the path of self realisation. The truth is we all are travellers in the life's eternal journey, to meet for a short while, to care and share but we tend to forget that nothing lasts forever. if only we could cultivate a sense of detachment, life would have been much easier.
Independent travel does that, bringing temporarily together these wandering ships that would otherwise pass in the night. Relationships were mostly brief and sometimes downright fleeting. The barriers and masks of settled existence melted away, allowing strangers to become fast friends, if only for a day. We travellers needed that, having deliberately stepped away from the social safety net of family, school, work and community.
The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. Where the truthful answer to the question "Do you see the same truth?" would be "I see nothing and I don't care about the truth; I only want a Friend," no Friendship can arise - though Affection of course may. There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about; and Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers.
C. S. Lewis
The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. Where the truthful answer to the question "Do you see the same truth?" would be "I see nothing and I don't care about the truth; I only want a Friend, " no Friendship can arise - though Affection of course may. There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about; and Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers.
I long ago lost a hound, a bay horse, and a turtle-dove, and am still on their trail. Many are the travellers I have spoken concerning them, describing their tracks and what calls they answered to. I have met one or two who had heard the hound, and the tramp of the horse, and even seen the dove disappear behind a cloud, and they seemed as anxious to recover them as if they had lost them themselves.
Henry David Thoreau
The earliest intelligence of the travellers' safe arrival at Antigua, after a favourable voyage, was received; though not before Mrs. Norris had been indulging in very dreadful fears, and trying to make Edmund participate them whenever she could get him alone; and as she depended on being the first person made acquainted with any fatal catastrophe, she had already arranged the manner of breaking it to all the others, when Sir Thomas's assurances of their both being alive and well made it necessary to lay by her agitation and affectionate preparatory speeches for a while.
I wish to put together an imaginary nation. It is my belief that no other nation is possible, or rather, I believe that authors who count take responsibility for a map which is addressed to travellers of the earth, the world, and the spirit. Each issue is composed as a map of this land and this glory, images of our cities and of our politics must join our poetry. I want a nation in which discourse is active and scholarship is understood as it should be, the mode of our understanding and the ground of our derivations. -Robin Blaser (June 3, 1967)
Lovers O lovers, lovers it is time to set out from the world. I hear a drum in my soul's ear coming from the depths of the stars. Our camel driver is at work; the caravan is being readied. He asks that we forgive him for the disturbance he has caused us, He asks why we travellers are asleep. Everywhere the murmur of departure; the stars, like candles thrust at us from behind blue veils, and as if to make the invisible plain, a wondrous people have come forth.
Blackened skeleton arms of wood by the wayside pointed upward to the convent, as if the ghosts of former travellers, overwhelmed by the snow, haunted the scene of their distress. Icicle-hung caves and cellars built for refuges from sudden storms, were like so many whispers of the perils of the place; never-resting wreaths and mazes of mist wandered about, hunted by a moaning wind; and snow, the besetting danger of the mountain, against which all its defences were taken, drifted sharply down.
But how do European railways manage without them? How do they continue to convey millions of travellers and mountains of luggage across a continent? If companies owning railways have been able to agree, why should railway workers, who would take possession of railways, not agree likewise? And if the Petersburg-Warsaw Company and that of Paris-Belfort can act in harmony, without giving themselves the luxury of a common commander, why, in the midst of our societies, consisting of groups of free workers, should we need a Government?
Pedestrianism, [William Bingley] claims, is the most 'useful' mode of travel, 'if health and strength are not wanting.' 'To a naturalist, it is evidently so; since, by this means, he is enabled to examine the country as he goes along; and when he sees occasion, he can also strike out of the road, amongst the mountains or morasses, in a manner completely independent of all those obstacles that inevitably attend the bringing of carriages or horses.' Bingley has a specific reason here for valuing the combination of freedom and intimacy with one's surroundings enjoyed by the pedestrian, but his rationale is generalisable to other travellers.
We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind. The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it. The missing plays of Sophocles will turn up piece by piece, or be written again in another language. Ancient cures for diseases will reveal themselves once more. Mathematical discoveries glimpsed and lost to view will have their time again. You do not suppose, my lady, that if all of Archimedes had been hiding in the great library of Alexandria, we would be at a loss for a corkscrew?
I suppose there has been nothing like the airports since the age of the stage-stops - nothing quite as lonely, as sombre-silent. The red-brick depots were built right into the towns they marked - people didn't get off at those isolated stations unless they lived there. But airports lead you way back in history like oases, like the stops on the great trade routes. The sight of air travellers strolling in ones and twos into midnight airports will draw a small crowd any night up or two. The young people look at the planes, the older ones look at the passengers with a watchful incredulity.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
An ordinary mirror is silvered at the back but the window of the night train has darkness behind the glass. My face and the faces of other travellers were now mirrored on this darkness in a succession of stillnesses. Consider this, said the darkness: any motion at any speed is a succession of stillnesses; any section through an action will show just such a plane of stillness as this dark window in which your seeking face is mirrored. And in each plane of stillness is the moment of clarity that makes you responsible for what you do.
I do not think the sunny youth of either will prove the forerunner of stormy age. I think it is deemed good that you two should live in peace and be happy - not as angels but as few are happy amongst mortals. Some lives are thus blessed: it is God's will: it is the attesting trace and lingering evidence of Eden. Other lives run from the first another course. Other travellers encounter weather fitful and gusty wild and variable - breast adverse winds are belated and overtaken by the early closing winter night. Neither can this happen without the sanction of God and I know that amidst His boundless works is somewhere stored the secret of this last fate's justice: I know that His treasures contain the proof as the promise of its mercy.
White in the moon the long road lies, The moon stands blank above; White in the moon the long road lies That leads me from my love. Still hangs the hedge without a gust, Still, still the shadows stay: My feet upon the moonlit dust Pursue the ceaseless way. The world is round, so travellers tell, And straight through reach the track, Trudge on, trudge on, 'twill all be well, The way will guide one back. But ere the circle homeward hies Far, far must it remove: White in the moon the long road lies That leads me from my love.
[Robert] Newell's recommendation of walking is also interesting: 'The best way undoubtedly of seeing a country is on foot. It is the safest, and most suited to every variety of road; it will often enable you to take a shorter track, and visit scenes (the finest perhaps) not otherwise accessible; it is healthy, and, with a little practice, easy; it is economical: a pedestrian is content with almost any accommodations; he, of all travellers, wants but little, 'Nor wants that little long'. And last, though not least, it is perfectly independent.' Newell cites independence, as do a number of the 'first generation' of Romantic walkers I have already surveyed; more striking are his commendation of walking as the safest option, which reflects a very altered perception of the security of travel from that which prevailed in the eighteenth century, and his advocacy of the practical and health benefits of pedestrianism, which against suggests its institutionalisation as a form of tourism and its extension to lower reaches of the middle classes.
He wondered about the people in houses like those. They would be, for example, small clerks, shop-assistants, commercial travellers, insurance touts, tram conductors. Did they know that they were only puppets dancing when money pulled the strings? You bet they didn't. And if they did, what would they care? They were too busy being born, being married, begetting, working, dying. It mightn't be a bad thing, if you could manage it, to feel yourself one of them, one of the ruck of men. Our civilization is founded on greed and fear, but in the lives of common men the greed and fear are mysteriously transmuted into something nobler. The lower-middle-class people in there, behind their lace curtains, with their children and their scraps of furniture and their aspidistras - they lived by the money-code, sure enough, and yet they contrived to keep their decency. The money-code as they interpreted it was not merely cynical and hoggish. They had their standards, their inviolable points of honour. They 'kept themselves respectable'- kept the aspidistra flying. Besides, they were alive. They were bound up in the bundle of life. They begot children, which is what the saints and the soul-savers never by any chance do. The aspidistra is the tree of life, he thought suddenly.
The history of the own that is grasped on too small a scale and the foreign that is treated too badly reaches an end at the moment when a global co-immunity structure is born, with a respectful inclusion of individual cultures, particular interests and local solidarities. This structure would take on planetary dimensions at the moment when the earth spanned by networks and built over by foams, was conceived as the own, and the previously dominant exploitative excess as the foreign. With this turn, the concretely universal would become operational. The helpless whole is transformed into a unity capable of being protected. A romanticism of brotherliness is replaced by a cooperative logic. Humanity becomes a political concept. Its members are no longer travellers on the ship of fools that is abstract universalism, but workers on the consistently concrete and discrete project of a global immune design. Although communism was a conglomeration of a few correct ideas and many wrong ones, its reasonable part - the understanding that shared life interests of the highest order can only be realized within a horizon of universal co-operative asceticisms - will have to assert itself anew sooner or later. It presses for a macrostructure of global immunizations : co-immunism.
Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way? Or is it, that as in essence whiteness is not so much a color as the visible absence of color; and at the same time the concrete of all colors; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows- a colorless, all-color of atheism from which we shrink? And when we consider that other theory of the natural philosophers, that all other earthly hues - every stately or lovely emblazoning - the sweet tinges of sunset skies and woods; yea, and the gilded velvets of butterflies, and the butterfly cheeks of young girls; all these are but subtile deceits, not actually inherent in substances, but only laid on from without; so that all deified Nature absolutely paints like the harlot, whose allurements cover nothing but the charnel-house within; and when we proceed further, and consider that the mystical cosmetic which produces every one of her hues, the great principle of light, for ever remains white or colorless in itself, and if operating without medium upon matter, would touch all objects, even tulips and roses, with its own blank tinge - pondering all this, the palsied universe lies before us a leper; and like wilful travellers in Lapland, who refuse to wear colored and coloring glasses upon their eyes, so the wretched infidel gazes himself blind at the monumental white shroud that wraps all the prospect around him. And of all these things the Albino whale was the symbol. Wonder ye then at the fiery hunt?
Telegraph Road A long time ago came a man on a track Walking thirty miles with a pack on his back And he put down his load where he thought it was the best Made a home in the wilderness He built a cabin and a winter store And he ploughed up the ground by the cold lake shore And the other travellers came riding down the track And they never went further, no, they never went back Then came the churches, then came the schools Then came the lawyers, then came the rules Then came the trains and the trucks with their loads And the dirty old track was the telegraph road Then came the mines - then came the ore Then there was the hard times, then there was a war Telegraph sang a song about the world outside Telegraph road got so deep and so wide Like a rolling river... And my radio says tonight it's gonna freeze People driving home from the factories There's six lanes of traffic Three lanes moving slow... I used to like to go to work but they shut it down I got a right to go to work but there's no work here to be found Yes and they say we're gonna have to pay what's owed We're gonna have to reap from some seed that's been sowed And the birds up on the wires and the telegraph poles They can always fly away from this rain and this cold You can hear them singing out their telegraph code All the way down the telegraph road You know I'd sooner forget but I remember those nights When life was just a bet on a race between the lights You had your head on my shoulder, you had your hand in my hair Now you act a little colder like you don't seem to care But believe in me baby and I'll take you away From out of this darkness and into the day From these rivers of headlights, these rivers of rain From the anger that lives on the streets with these names 'Cos I've run every red light on memory lane I've seen desperation explode into flames And I don't want to see it again... From all of these signs saying sorry but we're closed All the way down the telegraph road
I shall let [Anne] Wallace put the case herself, at what I think is necessary length: 'As travel in general becomes physically easier, faster, and less expensive, more people want and are able to arrive at more destinations with less unpleasant awareness of their travel process. At the same time the availability of an increasing range of options in conveyance, speed, price, and so forth actually encouraged comparisons of these different modes... and so an increasingly positive awareness of process that even permitted semi-nostalgic glances back at the bad old days... Then, too, although local insularity was more and more threatened... people also quite literally became more accustomed to travel and travellers, less fearful of 'foreign' ways, so that they gradually became able to regard travel as an acceptable recreation. Finally, as speeds increased and costs decreased, it simply ceased to be true that the mass of people were confined to that circle of a day's walk: they could afford both the time and the money to travel by various means and for purely recreational purposes... And as walking became a matter of choice, it became a possible positive choice: since the common person need not necessarily be poor. Thus, as awareness of process became regarded as advantageous, 'economic necessity' became only one possible reading (although still sometimes a correct one) in a field of peripatetic meanings that included 'aesthetic choice'.' It sounds a persuasive case. It is certainly possible that something like the shift in consciousness that Wallace describes may have taken place by the 'end' (as conventionally conceived) of the Romantic period, and influenced the spread of pedestrianism in the 1820s and 1830s; even more likely that such a shift was instrumental in shaping the attitudes of Victorian writing in the railway age, and helped generate the apostolic fervour with which writers like Leslie Stephen and Robert Louis Stevenson treated the walking tour. But it fails to account for the rise of pedestrianism as I have narrated it.