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Travel Notes



You need not leave your room

You need not leave your room.
Remain seated at your table
and listen.  You need not even listen:
simply wait; just be quiet, still, solitary.
The world will freely offer
itself to you to be unmasked.
It has no choice' it will roll
in ecstasy at your feet.

--Franz Kaffka.
(thanks to the website of the Unitarian Church of Westport, Westport, CT,)

Americans sometimes travel  to foreign countries where they stay in American hotels, eat in American restaurants, and converse with English speakers.  They return saying that their "appreciation" for their home country has been increased.  Well, of course it has; they just spent a week or a month experiencing America rather than the country they were allegedly visiting.  This seems to be a common characteristic of space travelers.  John Steinbeck once told a story of an Italian photographer who was commissioned by an Italian magazine to do a photo essay on the United States.  When he submitted his story, all the pictures looked like they could have been taken in Italy.  Subconsciously, he could only see that in America which was also in Italy.

Xavier deMaistre, placed under house arrest for dueling and confined to his own bedroom for 42 days, wrote a travel book: Adventures around my Room, Written in 1791 in a style that is foppishly elegant, the specifics of the book had no interest for me, but the idea is excellent.  If we can find infinity in a grain of sand and eternity in an hour, I surely ought to be able to find plenty of amusement and information, not to mention wonder, wisdom, and insight by spending a month in my own room.

I quess what deMaistre and  Steinbeck are saying is that it is the traveller's attitude much more than the travel itself that determines the value of the journey.  And Kaffka (surprise! again)  says it so beatifully.  The silence represents the openness to and acceptance of what presents itself to you for your playful enjoyment..

Love and peace.  Enjoy your trips!

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bobby1933
bobby1933

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