Of traveling

It occurred to me the other day when I was crossing the English Channel La Manche in French — that traveling is a lonely business. One can love and hate being by oneself, and being alone is both a curse and a blessing that often occur at the same time.

Postcards of Cluny, quaint little town dominated by what remains of its grandiose abbey.

Even when traveling in a group of people, be they close friends, simple acquaintances, or strangers met for the first time at the beginning of the trip, one cannot help but being somewhat introspective, feeling that they can enjoy it as well as fret about it. Travel than become a true journey of self discovery, of varying proportions and impact.*

I personally experience the full impact of this when I am on a road trip and am driving, then it really does not matter if I am by myself or I have somebody sitting in the passenger seat, as I can very easily drift off and begin to wonder: about the the road ahead of me or the one just left behind, about new and old work ideas, about projects, people, friends and foes. Driving as a Zen-like activity, this is how I came to see it. Very much like cooking, it is an activity that feels natural and calms me down to a point where my mind enjoys a serene focus.

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I am in Avignon in the south of France at the moment — pinpoint E in the map above — visiting some friends before they also leave for a road trip, and before I finally make my way towards Spain. They got in touch with me on my first day back on the continent, and in a minute my plans were changed. The idea now is to leave here tomorrow morning, get to Barcelona first, spend the weekend there, then see my good old friend Yoga Dhara near Madrid and spend a few days with her before beginning my long(ish) journey back to Italy.

Stay tuned — more pictures soon.

*I envisioned quoting from Jack Kerouac's book Lonesome Traveler here, but I haven't gotten hold of a copy yet. Please feel free to add any thoughts or extract from the book if you've read it.


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