Sunday, 6 December 2009

Catharsis in Motion

Culture is built upon stories. Oral transmission shapes much the world, and written knowledge relies on the reputation of the writer or the social standing of the preacher. Travel is the gathering of new tales, thirst for fresh thought, movement as opposed to stagnation. We spoke about this before: narrate your own mythology. This because I can see values not my own subtly encroaching when alternatives lack. From diminutive sand castle to vast ramparts of ice crumbling into the ocean. I am an unwilling accomplice. Maybe because of dysfunction, repetition nauseates instead of reassuring (don't talk to me about Christmas!). Despite a non-theist education, guilt affects a normally positive outlook: fall from grace, original sin. Lack of care, aggression, deceit and denial, sadden and burden and yet daily this is what I am presented with, when my screen lights up and the machine lures me from the world of the living. Collective guilt weighs heavy upon my conscience so I seek purification in motion, as well of course as reassurance:

"What I have learned on my travels is that 99.99% of the world's people are kind, honest and helpful - much readier to give than to steal. And as for that .01% of a killer or a rapist, the one who always hits the headlines in the media, he's just as likely to pounce on me outside my own front door as he is in Zonguldak or Timbuktu."

Anne Mustoe (May 24, 1933 – November 10, 2009)

People out there are good: this is the tenet of the journey. Fear cannot save us (or you): it is crippling and ultimately an imploding principle. Thinking we are safer by staying where we are is just a mild form of agoraphobia. I know I have been raised in a protected, loving environment: this journey seeks to demonstrate that this environment is not limited to our small privileged bubble (and what an ephemeral reality we would be living in if it was so). I do not believe that generosity is necessarily linked with abundance and by contrast malevolence with deprivation. Travel is a search for core values, laying oneself bare, stripped of distractions, letting the rain gently wash away the blues..

And with me, my lover.

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

you write very beautifully Pietro. Interesting your quote from Ann Mustoe - my Mum was talking of her last Monday. We were talking about cycle touring and she said she'd met this amazing woman (Ann) years ago who had been a head teacher and in her fifties changed her whole life and started cycling around the world...she had recently seen her obiturary in the paper - in her 80s, on a cycle trip in Africa when she died!

love love
xx

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