The Idea of Travel

Anything not about Mac emulation.

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The Idea of Travel

Post by ClockWise »

Regarding the city of Da Nang, I wrote to my partner:

"I like this a bit better than Hanoi. Mainly because there is no reason to visit here. It reminds me of why I like to travel: I like being homeless, I like hotels, I like looking at maps, I like being itinerant I like those things better than visiting tourist sites that are often crowded and, therefore, stressful to me. I like the concept of travel... the small things. I like the continental breakfast. I like growing my beard.

I guess I don't travel to visit famous places. I just travel to be 'on the road.' This realization makes me so excited about our next 'round the world' trip.

Alain de Botton wrote a book called "The Art of Travel," which is a book that I highly recommend to everyone I meet on the road. As I said when I told you about it before, his book was not a book that told readers where to go, but rather a book that asked readers WHY they go in the first place...

Comparing my recent short trips to the year-long trip I took in 2007 and 2008, I've been thinking a lot about the "WHY" of travel. These short trips don't let me indulge my favorite "WHY." If you know what I mean...

Da nang has no tourists, because it is boring and there are no good reasons to visit. In this sort of city I can pretend I'm on a different sort of trip I dig it!"
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Post by ClockWise »

To this I would add a summary:

I just like to live a Bohemian lifestyle. I want to spend every day wandering the globe. Like Jack Kerouac or (even better) Sybille Bedford.

Or Allan Ginsberg, or Che Guevera or whomever.

I was able to do that in the past, but now I have a job and commitments and a lover and money and so many other things that tie me down.

Epic Fail!!
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Post by Cat_7 »

Hi,

Great reading your reasons for, and experiences during, travel.
I'm going to indulge in a Che-like trip next Saturday. I'll drive my motorbike to the Russian border with Norway, some 3500 km away from where I live and than back through Norway to home. I'm going to take my tent. All together some 8.500 km of traveling. I'm looking forward to it tremendously, especially to the areas of the northern parts of Norway and Sweden where Nature is self-sufficient and doesn't need people. Only sorry I can only stay for two weeks. Oh well, I'm visiting Greece with my partner for 4 weeks in October.

Best of luck on your travels,
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Post by ClockWise »

That sounds really nice. I would love to see that part of the world. The North.

People that I meet from that part of the world are always very nice, compelling individuals.
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Home tomorrow!!
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Post by ClockWise »

I wrote to papa:

"I sent off a few postcards and things. As you know, I'm quite
obsessed with the post. I like the idea that there are dozens of
little papers with my handwriting floating around the globe at any
given time. I was so happy to hear that some letters from Russia
reached their destination nine months after I sent them. Where did
they go during the intervening months? What dusty room did they wait
around in? What trains and planes did they fly on? Likewise, a
postcard I sent from Brunei to my friend in Paris arrived just last
month. What route did it take?

On the long trip I would pick up packages along the way via "poste
restante." That is the very old-fashioned technique of receiving
personal mail at any post office in the world. It was quite popular
fifty years ago, but has fallen out of favor for obvious reasons. The
oldsters working at the post offices I went to really appreciated me
asking to check if any packages were waiting for me, while the
youngsters often didn't know what I was talking about! I recall
spending an entire day chasing a LETTER around the city of Amman in
Jordan. I visited a branch office, the main post office and finally a
mail sorting facility out in the suburbs before I found my mail.

I would tell my friends to send mail to me "c/o Main Post Office" in
whatever city. Just that... my name, "Main Post Office", and the
city. No street name, no number, no postal code, nothing. And it
worked every single time!

I always found it a very romantic and adventurous thing to get mail
that way. And it was only something that could be done when I was
truly itinerant... not while on a vacation."
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Post by ClockWise »

At this very moment, Cat_7 is on the road!! Good luck, Cat_7!!
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Post by ClockWise »

There were plans to move to Jakarta in the new year. The plans have fallen apart. No Jakarta.

:(
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Post by Windozed »

I hope it wasn't too big a disappointment.
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Post by ClockWise »

It was. :(

Very depressed now. :(
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Post by Windozed »

Very sorry to hear that, indeed, but do try to be of good cheer. I remember an old saying, something about Fate opening a door when it closes a window.
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Post by ClockWise »

There is a 33% chance I can move to China in the new year! 33 percent!! Wee!!!
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Post by Cat_7 »

I didn't know you were looking for a new place to stay. Jakarta would have taken you to one of our former colonies :cry: Only now, after 60 years, there is a complaint against the Dutch government for a bloodbath we created when killing hundreds of men that revolted against our rule.

But how can you be so exact? 33%, where does that figure come from? You've got three irons in the fire?
Best of luck moving to a new place. We'll see whether the Chinese government blocks access to emaculation.com...

Best of luck,
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Post by ClockWise »

There are seven positions, and twenty-one candidates. All things being equal that leaves a 33% chance of success!

(I know, I know... everyone is NOT equal!)

China is a bit more exciting to me than Indonesia. I was to move to Jakarta, which I've heard is actually a rather dreadful city.

China's size appeals to me. There are lots of adventures to be had without even crossing an international border.

We'll see how it goes. I don't really NEED to move on, but both my girlfriend and I (we hope to go together) are getting itchy feet. We are feeling a bit stifled by our current jobs.
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Post by Windozed »

That does sound exciting. Best of luck!
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Post by ClockWise »

I'm going to China!!

SO LONG, SUCKERS!!!!!
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Post by ClockWise »

Um... that's what I will say to all my neighbors. I don't plan on leaving YOU GUYS.
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Post by ClockWise »

My main girl got me this DVD collection for Christmas:

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/completeng/

It's pretty cool. Way more readable scans than on earlier collections and the search function is much more robust.

One neat function is a "geobrowse" that uses a Google Earth thing (but from Microsoft) where I can place a pin on the map and get a list of all the articles (over 120 years) that describe stuff within a certain (adjustable) radius of the spot.

And when I leave this place and have to abandon my current issues of the magazine I will be able to buy an update to the software that adds them into the collection.
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Post by ClockWise »

I am enjoying a long stopover at Bangkok airport! I have located a free interrnet terrminal!!
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Post by ClockWise »

HELLO INTERNET STOP I AM IN THE JUNGLE STOP COMING HOME SOON STOP.

Actually, I found a nice little bungalo that looks out on the Mekong. It's so pretty here. I don't want to go back to work next week.
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Post by ClockWise »

Once again, stopping over in Bangkok. Home again in a matter of hours. About ready for my comfortable bed.

Are there any parts of the site that need updating?
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Post by ClockWise »

I posted this elsewhere, but thought I'd share over here:

---

So in honour of my impending departure, here is a list of my five favourite travel books. These are listed in no particular order.

"Shadow of the Silk Road" (2006) by Colin Thubron is the most recent book on the list. It is a most wonderful account of his 7000 mile, year-long (almost) trip across Asia. It's not a book about him, but a book about the places he visits. Thubron only occasionally (rarely) writes about his own feelings in the book, and most of the time does that to comment on the idea of travel. This is the end of a sort of thematic trilogy dealing with "central" Asia, following after the books "Lost Heart of Asia" and "In Siberia." Those books are almost as good as this one. 2006.

"Jigsaw" (1989) by Sybille Bedford. This one is a novel. The story is somewhat autobiographical, inspired by the author's life in Europe in the 1910s, 20s and 30s. When Bedford died in 2006 (yes, she lived a long long time) she was described as "the last true Bohemian." This book describes her pan European childhood and early adulthood. Bedford is my favourite overall author. One could read instead "A Legacy" (1956) to which this book is a kind of sequel, or her 2005 memoir "Quicksands" which covers the same ground, but without the veneer of fiction.

"The Art of Travel" (2002) by Alain De Botton explores WHY we travel. It's a little bit too intellectual for a guy like me, but the subject is unique. It is also very, very funny at times. More of an essay than a book.

"Book of Longing" (2006) by Leonard Cohen is a book of poems and drawings. Many of them are about travel, some of which were written in India. Cohen wrote in one poem (something like) "I've visited too many countries... I died when I left Montreal." That lament of the over-travelled really struck me sideways." Cohen has written a great number of poems inspired by his travels, but this book seems to contain the most obvious of the sort.

"On the Road" (1957) by Jack Kerouac really is that good! I list it here, but if I didn't already list a book of poems, I would probably include his "Mexico City Blues," which I love even more than this one.

Honorable Mentions:

I am very fond of Robert Kaplan's "Mediterranean Winter" (2004).

Bedford's "Pleasures and Landscapes" (2003) is my favorite book of travel essays.

I always (always, always) have a copy of Allan Ginsberg's "Howl and Other Poems" (1956) in my pack when I travel. It contains one of my favorite travel poems - "In the Baggage Room at Grey Hound."

My favourite guide book is a lost gem called "Asia Overland" (1998). Can't remember who wrote it, because I just mailed my copy to China. It includes funky maps and a guide to sneaking in North Korea without papers. Sneaking in North Korea... good times!

---
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Post by ClockWise »

Oh, I'm in Canada now and it's dreadful here. I should go back to Asia soon.
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Post by Cat_7 »

The green green gras of home not green enough? What's bugging you over there?

Best,
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Post by ClockWise »

Oh, this city is not my own anymore. I don't know anything about it. I've been away too long. I used to like that I knew all the secrets of the place. I knew who owned the cafe I liked. I knew the name of the guy in the kitchen at my favorite restaraunt. I knew the best places to sit and read a book. I knew where to see some music played. I especially knew about my local neighbourhood.

But I don't know these things anymore. The old secrets I used to know are not valid anymore. They are not valid. They are leftover secrets. They are just trivia. Just old facts. Ancient history.

Everything moved on without me. :(
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