The best travel is …


Paul Theroux wrote in his book Dark Star Safari (2003):

“The best travel is a leap in the dark. If the destination were familiar and friendly what would be the point in going there?”

Trip to unknown …

It is a strong statement and surely not to the taste of all travellers, but I can not agree more.

To read all the 500 pages of Dark Star Safari took some time – I did not read it at one go – but it was worth of it. Paul Theroux, who writes in this book about his trip from Cairo to Cape Town, is known by thick books of long train journeys.

I have criss-crossed Europe by InterRail during 1970’s, I have used trains in Asia (partly the same tracks Theroux has travelled), but trains in Africa and Americas I would like to experience one day, like Theroux in his books, observing the life of ordinary people, with no hurry.

“Everyone always available at any time in the totally accessible world seemed to me pure horror. It made me want to find a place that was not accessible at all … no phones, no fax machines, no even mail delivery, the wonderful old world of being out of touch; in short, of being far away.”

About Olli Laasanen

Eyes and ears open. New and old. Jobs and hobbies. Pictures and music. Entertaining and serious. Change and stability. Nature and urban.
This entry was posted in Photo, photography, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The best travel is …

  1. rigbyte says:

    This quote encapsulates my thinking: “Everyone always available at any time in the totally accessible world seemed to me pure horror. It made me want to find a place that was not accessible at all … no phones, no fax machines, no even mail delivery, the wonderful old world of being out of touch; in short, of being far away.”
    I have always lived like that and still have no mobile phone, the gate to our acreage block in the countryside is locked, and the telephone is switched to answer-phone. We are available to no one and it is perfect. During the 1960s and seventies I travelled exactly as Theroux describes, hitch-hiking, across Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, never having an address, occasionally picking up mail at Thomas Cook, and taking local busses throughout the Americas. But the world population was only third of what it is today, the USA had not become the purveyor of anti-democratic fear, war and loathing, there was still hope for democracy, justice and decency… all that has gone, and the world of ‘ordinary’ people, that no tourists see or care about, is one of fear, privation, police brutality, religious persecution… leaving them with nothing to look forward to as the 8% of humans who own 90% of the planet’s wealth buy up and exploit all the best farmland in Africa, and South America to ensure their survival in a future of climate change that will make the planet all but uninhabitable by the end of this century.
    I don’t want to be a tourist gaping at the masses, I want to be left alone as there’s nothing I can do to alleviate the misery.
    Apologies for such a negative response. The deserted Railway platform in the snow is so evocatively bleak it must have triggered these sad thoughts.
    Cheers. R.

    • For some reason, your response didn’t surprise me, R.🙂

      The world is not the same now as it was some 40 years ago. The big change has been the unwritten expectation that today each of us can be personally contacted at any time, any place. Though I like the possibilities the technology gives us, it is luxury to be occasionally totally disconnected, would it be jungles in Asia, deserts in Africa or mountains in America. Or at home, by own choice.

      • rigbyte says:

        Ha, you are a sensible man, O. I should have added that we are perfectly contented in our self-imposed quasi isolation, as happy as we’ve always been, despite the rest of the species. Speaking of species, have you read ‘Requiem for a Species’ by Clive Hamilton? Probably the most complete and accessible book on the topic of climate change. Apparently, as long as you’re about 7 metres above sea level, you’ll be fine in Finland, enjoying a temperate climate, as long as you keep the hordes of refugees away.🙂

        • That book I haven’t read, but looks very interesting. I found a nice review on David Robertson’s blog: http://wp.me/pv78e-gz. Have to add that to my (long) reading list …

          When the permanent high tide arrives in Finland, I guess we have to learn to live with the less fortunate ones. Maybe even earlier …

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