PHILOSOPHY OF TRAVEL AND LIFE - EXCERPTS FROM THE NOVEL «ENJOY THE RIDE».
As well as for the presentation, we have chosen to show you excerpts from the novel which seem particularly significant to us. It is worth noting that we have respected the chronological order.
- Excerpt No. 1
«I can't wait to leave, said Lucinda. I am completely excited at the idea of this trip.
- Me too, approved Chaz. This expectation is almost unbearable. I got the impression that days are endless.
- You will not regret it, answered Tom. Europe is really worth.
- And which place do you like most among all those you visited? asked Irina.
-You know, this is precisely the question I couldn't answer. Of course, many places left their mark on me. I've already quite backpacked. And the more I travel, the more I tell myself there is no better place in the world actually. There is such a diversity on the planet that there is nothing really comparable. Finally, the best place in the world is the Earth.
- Bravo! exclaimed Chuck. You're good at coming up with pithy expressions!
- It is true, smiled Tom. The Earth is great. It is surprising, fascinating, extremely varied, and it could go on forever amazing us. And yet, I only visited a small part of it. There's so much to discover that it would take us several lives.»
- Excerpt No. 2
(…) «For many reasons, I am happy to be back here almost one year after. You know, I've always thought that you let a small part of you, of your soul, in every place you've been which left its mark on you. And being back there is recovering it. Travelling is great.
- You're right: travelling is great, repeated Irina, the eye lost in the distance. Everything we're living at the moment makes me want to travel around as often as possible, in the future. I realize I didn't enough.
- I love everything related to travel, continued Tom. Means of transport, for example, and transport places like airports or railway stations... I remember a few years ago, I was in the Bordeaux railway station, and something happened just before me. Something that may seem trivial or ordinary, but I found it very intense. It was a rush day: a springtime holiday weekend, if I'm not mistaken. There I saw a girl throwing herself into her boyfriend's arms getting out of the train. They were so happy to meet again. And at their feet, her young cocker jumped like crazy around them pushing yelping joyfully, as happy as them. And I told myself it was just two people and a dog. But if you could count all the people happy to meet again at that time in that station, and even in all other stations, airports and others. If you could measure one way or another the amount of happiness those places contain at that precise moment. Can you imagine? It would be great.
- It's clear. I love this way of seeing things: your view on travel and on life in general, it's fantastic.
- Don't forget that life itself is a travel, as Lori Brewster the philosopher violinist said. (Then, he stood up): shall we join the others?
- Let's go !» she replied enthusiastic, standing up in her turn.
- Extract No. 3
(…) «No, it’s really sincere. Tom is right: the Earth is really the best place in the world. I love this phrase. Travelling, exploring places you don't know, meeting people different to you makes you better as long as you're doing it with an open mind and without prejudices. All this made me realize that you were right on one point: I was completely ignorant about everything which concerned other countries and continents. And now I really want to travel around the world, to learn, to grow richer.» (…)
THE WAY WE TRAVEL
After trying several ways to travel, we finally chose the auto-tour. It consists in reaching the destination by plane, get a rental vehicle on arrival at the airport. Hotel rooms are reserved in advance - just like the vehicle and the flight - in different cities. Between each step, you are free. Some auto-tours with a specific course are proposed by travel agencies, but if it does not completely suits you, you may develop yours to your liking (tailor made option).
Some will say that you are not totally free, which is true. But is there an option where you really are? For example, we are often told that improvised travel's backpacker with his rucksack is a trip in total freedom. We don't agree completely with that. Of course, we respect this way of doing and thinking as any other. And we understand how such an adventure can be exhilarating. However, the constraint to lug the whole load most of the day is real. Totally free? Not with your moves, in any case. In some situations, your mobility is limited. Moreover, as soon as you get rid of this bulky luggage, for example on a riverside or on a beach to go swimming, you must keep an eye on it regularly so that nobody steals it from you, which would have serious consequences. This is in our mind also inconvenient.
Besides, looking for a place where you can sleep every night can certainly add a bit of spice to the adventure, but according to us it is also a waste of time: the long minutes spent searching could be used to visit, take a walk, take pictures or other activities that make a trip memorable.
We read an article a few months ago, where the writer let us know about his view of trip, and a phrase made us react : he stated that persons who opted for hotels, bed and breakfasts or others, rather than camping or sleeping under the stars, «preferred comfort to freedom». First, why one would preclude the other? And then, free to what? To wake up for some of us with a backache, a lack of form because of difficulty in sleeping? For those who know that kind of worries, among others, the comfort of a cozy bed is above all the guarantee of waking up the morning in better form and being more able to walk, visit, or practice any other exciting activity requiring a minimum amount of physical contribution.
Finally, the 100% free option does not really exist, the ideal is getting as close as possible to it. Fortunately, it does not preclude adventure, surprises, intense moments, memories... The part of unexpected and improvisation is always present, and it is essential.
THE CHOICE OF DESTINATIONS
You surely heard at least once someone telling you: «it’s nice to explore foreign countries, but you would better visit your own country first». We admit we don't really understand this kind of thinking. Once again, one does not preclude the other. On the other hand, the opposite would be more appropriate: when we are young, we have enough energy to bear better a long journey and a consequent jetlag. As soon as age or health don't allow us any longer, it is naturally better to go on with short or medium distance journeys. This is the practical side. For the rest, we believe that you should follow your desires, quite simply.
You have noticed, we often opt for Eastern or Central Europe countries, and former Yugoslavia. We could also mention our brief incursions in such countries as Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland... We turn to the Amslav travel agency in Paris, specialized in those destinations, that we recommend you if you want to visit that part of Europe too. The staff is nice, welcoming, and very competent. Let's be honest: a few years ago, we would never have thought travelling in those countries, and above all to become addicted. Okay, we had not the usual prejudices that have far too many people. We had no received ideas, neither positive nor negative. It is curiosity that led us to Bulgaria, a whim that took us to the Czech Republic. And since, we can no longer do without. Of course, cities outskirts and their countless buildings erected during the Communist era are not very attractive. But you quickly forget them as you enter city centers with a dazzling architectural richness. And what about landscapes with a breathtaking beauty and a remarkable diversity? How to remain insensitive to the countless vestiges of unquestionable historic value, witnesses of the great variety of civilizations which crossed that part of the old continent through centuries? Those countries have a soul, a strong character, a very particular, entrancing atmosphere. They are the opposite of received ideas which they are subject. This is why they definitively conquered us, and we do not imagine a long period without returning there.
Indeed, we want at any price live again what we lived in June 2012 by returning two years after to Slovenia and specifically Ljubljana, our favorite city. It was the first time we returned to places we had already visited. And happiness was intense: we really had the feeling to recover a part of us that we had left behind two years earlier, as Tom said in excerpt N°2 from «Enjoy the ride». We will never forget those moments, and we greatly look forward to the idea of living again similar joys in future trips.
We're going to the U.S.A. in June 2013. It is a dream that we've been pursuing for years, and which will soon come true. We begin with Los Angeles, then San Diego, we go round the main national parks, Las Vegas, and finally Chicago. Indeed, in this city takes place much of the action of the novel «Enjoy the ride», including the Lincoln Park neighborhood. It will be like a pilgrimage to us!
But we know that as early as 2014, we will not resist the call of the East.
A TRIP AROUND THE WORLD?
This phrase has been repeatedly used for centuries. It evokes a dream, achievable for some utopian to others. It mainly reflects our yearning for travel, our desire for distance and exoticism. It can be interpreted in different ways: to explore the planet once in a very long trip, one departure and one return. This is the option which is the most faithful to the real meaning of the phrase. But you can also discover the world in several times: you leave to visit a continent, or at least a set of countries. Then you return and you get back into your daily life until the next trip, and so on until you have discovered every continent, which can take years, even decades. We are tempted to opt for the second way. Of course, travelling around the world at once is an extraordinary adventure that leaves a fantastic memory and makes you grow in stature. The people who did it are here to testify. But in our opinion, there are small inconveniences in having only one departure and one return. Indeed, what we find exciting about travel is - among other things - disconnecting completely while leaving the place where we live and where we work, even if we feel happy there in everyday. And taking up this feeling again regularly fills us with joy. Similarly, the return has something striking. Naturally, we feel the end of trip blues. The deeper the sadness, the more it means the adventure was great. The pain is here but we feel incredibly alive. Because we know it will finally fade, whereas the memories will remain forever. We keep it all in ourselves and we feel rich inside in vivid memories, meetings and experiences. And even if we feared this day to come all along, we feel kind of impatient to be back home to share it with the people we love.
Published on December 18th 2012