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2006-06-25 - 7:12 p.m.

I'm reading a fascinating book called A Sense of the World by Jason Roberts, about a blind, sometimes crippled, man from the 19th century who was the most widely traveled person of his time.

Just found a primary source of his on Project Gutenberg, too.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, guest blogger I Wombat:

Greetings, well I am not blind, well not literally, and not crippled, except emotionally and intellectually, but I am among the least traveled people of my time, and I would travel less still if it were in my power to (not) do so.

But I am nevertheless impressed by such people whose genius seems unconnected to situation or circumstance, but enables regardless.

Paula here:

Funny you should mention not being well-traveled, cuz I was thinking today that I may well be the least-traveled person I know.

I have very few regrets in life, but one of them is that I haven't been to more foreign countries (current tally: France and Canada...and we all know Canada is less a foreign country and more like a big state north of Michigan, where they sometimes speak French by accident).

On the other hand, I have at least 70 more years to go if my living-to-120 plan pans out, and I'm guessing that travel is better when you're less impressionable.

Back to you, 'mbat.

So what do we think? Is travel a distraction from perhaps more valuable, more inward pursuits? Is reading a purer form of travel? Is learning how to play a musical instrument? Are there more efficient methods for mind expansion than the consumption of jet fuel? Do we experience our existence more following our breath in yoga practice, or traveling to different, unfamiliar places? Living in NYC do we really need to go anywhere else?

The last question is a potent one--I often feel that all I need on a vacation is a Metrocard and $20/day, and I'm happy. There's still so much I haven't seen or done in my own city.

And if one can't be happy or have fun within one's own space, travel isn't going to help.

That said, I think there is something healing in seeing new vistas. Cognitively speaking, it creates new neural pathways in the brain. It is, as they say, broadening. It can get your head out of your ass, it can show you different ways of being, different rhythms, different...beers.

Well I am not anti-travel, really, but any new learning creates new neural pathways, I'm wondering about efficiency, travel to me, so often seems weighted with the tedium of motion.

A-ha--this may be where we actually differ--I love the ritual of travel. Car trips, airplanes, taxis, buses, um, rickshaws. These are exciting to me. Travel makes me feel safe and untouchable and about 20 years old and sylphlike the wayward whippet who escaped at La Guardia.

If you are uncomfortable with travel, Wombat, I know a book that may help...

Well this is true, I don't enjoy the confines of travel, on my last trip I decided that the faster you go, the less you are anyplace at all, I have the book, though, I read it at home.

Distance equals rate times time, dude.

thoughts? (9 comments so far)

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