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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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