Travelling along the long and winding road – Telegraph India

Every journey begins with a single step; or so it was once believed. In the modern world, travel has become much simpler. With cheaper transport and a booming tourism industry this was the case at least until recently a journey in the 21st century usually begins with a single click an online booking and ends with another a post on social media. But for all the convenience technology affords to the traveller, is not the experience of the journey itself somewhat lost along the way?

Literary history would agree. After all, great many works of literature are based on the adventures of travellers. Imagine a Victor Frankenstein with modern-day technology, chasing his monster with only a couple of clicks on a gadget, liberated from the unsettling struggle to get to the Mediterranean Sea from Geneva south or from having to journey across the Black Sea to Russia to the Arctic Circle. Or Odysseus, for that matter his wife, Penelope, neednt have woven a handkerchief, let alone a shroud, by the time her husband returned from Troy. Where, then, would the richness of their storiescome from?

Over the years, travel writers, too, have emphasized the pleasure andpain of journeying. Dervla Murphy,for one, often sets out on a paltrybudget to get a taste of local travel she recounts her extraordinary experiences of staying in fishermens huts andtravelling in packed buses in South India in On A Shoestring to Coorg, while in Full Tilt, she chronicles her tripon a bicycle from Dunkirk to Delhi. Alexis Wright and Lindsey Hilsumthink that travel writing should accommodate other voices: the accounts ofmigrants and refugees and theirexperiences of searching for a new home.

An arduous journey need not be a solitary experience. Treading across changing terrains, the traveller develops an intimacy with both the pit-stops and the final destination. Consider the essays of Robert Macfarlane and thedepth to which he delves to learn about the history and geography of eachplace he writes about. This sense of proximity helps Macfarlane plot out new territories not just within thenatural world but also inside the human mind he travels from a known landscape to somewherewe feel and think significantly differently even when there are no bordersthat correspond to national boundaries.

However, journeying far and wide is not necessary to forge a deep bond with a place. James Joyce wrote volumes on his dear dirty Dublin, and Virginia Woolf mapped out her neighbourhood in London on foot for her, it was the greatest of adventures. Are these musings not travelogues, especially for readers in distant lands?The pandemic has brought to a halt the world and travel. The prospect of great journeys seems bleak for now. Yet, all hope is not lost for travel enthusiasts. Stuck at home for an indeterminate stretch of time, they may finally have the leisure to read the travel stories real or imagined of others, or even relive their own journeys in the past. Reminiscing is a journey as well, isnt it?

Here is the original post:

Travelling along the long and winding road - Telegraph India

Related Post

Comments are closed.