On Travel and Reading

Travelling, too, is something you have to learn.  It is a constant transaction with others in the course of which you are simultaneously alone.  And therein lies the paradox: you journey alone in a world which is controlled by others.

Cees Nooteboom, extract Nomad's Hotel, Travels in Time and Space.

This morning I was that woman engrossed in her book as my trams crossed the city.  Those first chapters in Cees Nooteboom's Nomad's Hotel were electrifying. 

I love revisiting the books on my shelves next to my desk.  This one is dated 2008, in my handwriting.  I've been to Venice in years since.  Cees has some truly divine descriptions of that city I didn't fall in love with. 

Zinc light, the painter does not yet know what he is going to do with this day, leave it as it is, add some more copper, a greenish sheen, accentuate the grey, or alternatively flood everything with more light.

This morning, as I read, I realised that I read to travel.  When I can't 'leave', I climb into a book and go anyway.  But when I travel, in actuality, I read too.  I become a devourer of books, on buses, planes and trains, enjoying those quiet alone-spaces and the freedom to read without a long list of must-do things queuing up there in front of me, and people I must give my attention to.

And then, when alone and out traveling, I read myself to sleep.

Returning from the weekend that took me 'home', back to people I understood, shared a humour with, people who reminded me of who I am at my core ... re-entry has been interesting.  There is always so much more to understand about the self.

Life as the journey.  Perhaps that's it.  There always something new.

And my latest 'new' thing was photographing the Hangi, from beginning to end.  Here is the magnificent fire that heated the stones that were later buried with the food and cooked it all.