Coelho, Ostriche

Dopo che tutti gli invitati ebbero ordinato le pietanze, il cameriere si rivolse a Jacques: ‘Il solito?’‘Il solito, sì.’ Ostriche come antipasto, specificando che dovevano essere servite vive - qualcosa che sconcertava la maggior parte dei suoi ospiti stranieri. E poi lumache - le celebri escargots - e, dopo, cosce di rana fritte.Nessuno aveva il coraggio di imitare quella scelta – ed era proprio ciò che voleva. Si trattava una tattica di marketing.Gli antipasti arrivarono quasi subito. Quando vennero servite le ostriche, i commensali lo guardarono. Jacques spremette qualche goccia di limone sul primo mollusco, che scattò si contrasse, suscitando la sorpresa e lo sgomento degli invitati. Poi lo fece scivolare tra le labbra e lo inghiottì, prima di assaporare il liquido salato rimasto nella conchiglia.

Coelho, Paulo. Hippie. Milano: La nave di Teseo, 2018.

Simon, The world is immense

It is no trick to go round the world these days, you can pay a lot of money and fly round it nonstop in less than forty-eight hours, but to know it, to smell it and feel it between your toes you have to crawl. There is no other way. Not flying, not floating. You have to stay on the ground and swallow the bugs as you go. Then the world is immense.

Simon, Ted. 2008. Dreaming of Jupiter. London: Abacus.

Simon, The idea

The idea of travelling round the world had come to me one day in March that year, out of the blue. It came not as a vague thought or wish but as a fully formed conviction. The moment it struck me I knew it would be done and how I would do it. Why I thought immediately of a motorcycle I cannot say. I did not have a motorcycle, nor even a licence to ride one, yet it was obvious from the start that that was the way to go, and that I could solve the problems involved.


Simon, Ted. 2008. Dreaming of Jupiter. London: Abacus.

Stevenson Robert Louis, Travel

I should like to rise and go
Where the golden apples grow;-
Where below another sky
Parrot islands anchored lie,
And, watched by cockatoos and goats,
Lonely Crusoes building boats;-
Where in sunshine reaching out
Eastern cities, miles about,
Are with mosque and minaret
Among sandy gardens set,
And the rich goods from near and far
Hang for sale in the bazaar;-
Where the Great Wall round China goes,
And on one side the desert blows,
And with bell and voice and drum,
Cities on the other hum;-
Where are forests, hot as fire,
Wide as England, tall as a spire,
Full of apes and cocoa-nuts
And the negro hunter’s huts;-
Where the knotty crocodile
Lies and blinks in the Nile,
And the red flamingo flies
Hunting fish before his eyes;-
Where in jungles, near and far,
Man-devouring tigers are,
Lying close and giving ear
Lest the hunt be drawing near,
Or a comer-by be seen
Swinging in a palanquin;-
Where among the desert sands
Some deserted city stands,
All its children, sweep and prince,
Grown to manhood ages since,
Not a foot in street or house,
Not a stir of child or mouse,
And when kindly falls the night,
In all the town no spark of light.
There I’ll come when I’m a man
With a camel caravan
Light a fire in the gloom
Of some dusty dining-room;
See the pictures on the walls,
Heroes, fights, and festivals
And in a comer find the toys
Of the old Egyptian boys.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. Il mio letto è una nave. Feltrinelli Editore, 2010.

Stevenson Robert Louis, Viaggio

Vorrei andare alle Terre del Moro
dove nascono le mele d’oro,
e sotto cieli azzurri e soli gialli
ondeggia l'isola dei pappagalli,
e Robinson Crusoe fa le barchette
coi cacatoa e con le caprette,
e sotto un sole caldo, abbacinante,
città orientali, in un luogo distante
sorgono tra le sabbie e nei segreti
delle moschee, degli alti minareti,
e ricche merci straniere e locali
vendono nei bazar genti orientali,
dove la Gran Muraglia cinge la Cina,
da una parte il deserto preme e confina,
dall'altra cimbali, voci e tamburi
nelle città fan risuonare i muri.
E poi torride foreste infuocate
più vaste del Galles e alte esagerate,
e palme di cocco con le scimmie a nanna
mentre il negro dorme nella capanna,
e il coccodrillo dalla ruvida crosta
sonnecchia nel Nilo e intanto si apposta,
e il rosso fenicottero vola ben raso
prendendo i pesci che gli vengono a naso,
e nella giungla, vicine e lontane,
nascoste e in ascolto nelle umide tane
tigri con molti uomini sulla coscienza
stanno in agguato alla pura presenza
del cacciatore o del buon cittadino
che avanza ignaro sul suo palanchino.
Lì, tra le sabbie del deserto assolate
sorgono antiche città abbandonate.
E tutti i bambini, pezzenti e sovrani,
divennero adulti in tempi lontani.
Non l'eco di un passo, nessuno in cammino,
il grido di un topo, un uccello, un bambino,
e quando la notte dolcissima scende
non un barlume di luce l’accende.
Da grande ci andrò, ne sono certo,
in groppa a un cammello nel deserto,
accenderò un fuoco nel buio tenebroso
di un antico salone polveroso,
e guarderò le pitture sui muri,
feste, battaglie, eroi forti e puri,
e troverò in un angolo un po' fuori mano
gli antichi giochi di un bambino egiziano.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. Il mio letto è una nave. Feltrinelli Editore, 2010.

Stevenson Robert Louis, In riva al mare

In riva al mare
Quand’ero laggiù in riva al mare
mi diedero una vanga per scavare
che aveva il manico di legno.
Ogni buca era vuota, una scodella,
ma il mare che sale, riempie e livella,
finché non giunge più e non lascia segno.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. Il mio letto è una nave. Feltrinelli Editore, 2010.

Stevenson Robert Louis, At the sea-side

At the sea-side
When I was down beside the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
To dig the sandy shore.
My holes were empty like a cup,
In every hole the sea came up,
Till it could come no more.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. Il mio letto è una nave. Feltrinelli Editore, 2010.

Steinbeck John, Thruways

When we get these thruways across the whole country, as we will and must, it will be possible to drive from New York to California without seeing a single thing.

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Kerouac Jack, Old road

All that old road of the past unreeling dizzily as if the cup of life had been overturned and everything gone mad. My eyes ached in nightmare day.

Jack Kerouac, On the road

Potts Rolf, Vagabonding

Thus, the question of how and when to start vagabonding is not really a question at all. Vagabonding starts now. Even if the practical reality of travel is still months or years away, vagabonding begins the moment you stop making excuses, start saving money, and begin to look at maps with the narcotic tingle of possibility. From here, the reality of vagabonding comes into sharper focus as you adjust your worldview and begin to embrace the exhilarating uncertainty that true travel promises.

Rolf Potts, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

Eliot George, New land

Even people whose lives have been made various by learning sometimes find it hard to keep a fast hold on their habitual views of life, on their faith in the Invisible - nay, on the sense that their past joys and sorrows are a real experience, when they are suddenly transported to a new land, where the beings around them know nothing of their history, and share none of their ideas - where their mother earth shows another lap, and human life has other forms than those on which their souls have been nourished. Minds that have been unhinged from their old faith and love have perhaps sought this Lethean influence of exile in which the past becomes dreamy because its symbols have all vanished, and the present too is dreamy because it is linked with no memories.

George Eliot, Silas Marner

Kapuściński Ryszard, Going somewhere

Such people, while useful, even agreeable, to others, are, if truth be told, frequently unhappy–lonely in fact. Yes, they seek out others, and it may even seem to them that in a certain country or city they have managed to find true kinship and fellowship, having come to know and learn about a people; but they wake up one day and suddenly feel that nothing actually binds them to these people, that they can leave here at once. They realize that another country, some other people, have now beguiled them, and that yesterday’s most riveting event now pales and loses all meaning and significance. For all intents and purposes, they do not grow attached to anything, do not put down deep roots. Their empathy is sincere, but superficial. If asked which of the countries they have visited they like best, they are embarrassed–they do not know how to answer. Which one? In a certain sense–all of them. There is something compelling about each. To which country would they like to return once more? Again, embarrassment–they had never asked themselves such a question. The one certainty is that they would like to be back on the road, going somewhere. To be on their way again–that is the dream.

Ryszard Kapuściński, Travels with Herodotus

Ferry Peter, Look at me

I would go to parties and say I was an editor, and people, especially women – and that was important to me back then – would say, Oh, really? and raise their eyebrows and look at me a little more carefully. I remember the first party I went to after I became a teacher, someone asked me what I did for a living, and I said, Well, I teach high school. He looked over my shoulder, nodded his head, said, I went to high school, and walked away.

Once I repeated this anecdote around a big table full of Mexican food in the garden at a place called La Choza in Chicago, and Becky Mueller, another teacher at the school, said that I was a storyteller. I liked that. I was looking for something to be other than just a teacher, and storyteller felt about right. I am a teacher and a storyteller in that order. I have made my living and my real contribution to my community as a teacher, and I have been very lucky to have found that calling, but all through the years I have entertained myself and occasionally other people by telling stories.

Peter Ferry, Travel Writing

Hemingway Ernest, New world of writing

To have come on all this new world of writing, with time to read in a city like Paris where there was a way of living well and working, no matter how poor you were, was like having a great treasure given to you. You could take your treasure with you when you traveled too, and in the mountains where we lived in Switzerland and Italy, until we found Schruns in the high valley in the Vorarlberg in Austria, there were always the books, so that you lived in the new world you had found, the snow and the forests and the glaciers and their winter problems and your high shelter in the Hotel Taube in the village in the day time, and at night you could live in the other wonderful world the Russian writers were giving you.

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast