Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Travels of a different gentleman.

I'm currently reading Somerset Maugham's The Gentleman in the Parlour, which is really evoking memories of life in Asia, as well as helping me to think about some issues I've been mulling over. Obviously Maugham lived in a very different era-- one in which gin pahits were served for breakfast, and the use of racist slurs was perfectly acceptable in polite conversation (I'm glad we're moving beyond the racism, but I wouldn't mind bringing back the pahits, actually)-- but much of his themes are still relevant for the modern traveller. Particularly, it probes questions of why we choose to leave our homes, why we travel, and we seek homes in distant climes.

I'm really trying to work out why I travel, what I hope to get out of it, and where I hope it leads me. I'll share my conclusions, if I ever happen upon any.

Anyone have any answers? Why do you travel? Can one live their life completely untethered?

Pictured above: Luang Prabang, Laos, one of the most idyllic destinations in Southeast Asia. I don't know if I could ever make Luang Prabang home, but I certainly wouldn't mind going back.

3 comments:

Yoli said...

Xander I travel to find myself in the context of the universe. I know it is trite, but it is true. How many times have you traveled to a place only to be shocked by the fact that if conditions were different, this could be your home? I love the human aspect, the getting to know the people who call that particular spot on the earth, home.

Miss Footloose said...

I like to travel because I'm curious about the world, and I was even as a child. Maybe because I'm Dutch and there's a world-wandering gene that comes with that. After I've lived in the same place for a while, I get itchy. The world is fascinating and traveling keeps the creative juices flowing and the brain cells growing (I'm hoping).

Cate said...

My friends tend to put my travels into perspective for me. They tell me stuff about myself I've never even considered. I've always thought of myself as a great adventurer, seeker etc, but it could possibly be that I want to live my life to the fullest and travel is a way of doing it. Life is short. I like your thinking here.