Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Quote: What Gives Value to Travel is Fear

"What gives value to travel is fear.  It is the fact that, at a certain moment, when we are so far from our own country...we are seized by a vague fear, and an instinctive desire to go back to the protection of old habits.  This is the most obvious benefit of travel...This is why we should not say that we travel for pleasure.  There is no pleasure in traveling, and I look upon it more as an occasion for spiritual testing.  Pleasure takes us away from ourselves in the same way as distraction...Travel, brings us back to ourselves." -Albert Caymus, Notebooks, 1935-1951

Under most circumstances, fear seems to be too strong a word, especially traveling in this modern age where we continue to be connected and not too remote from any part of the world; but we do identify with this quote. We have rarely felt physical fear for our lives (so far) but have felt fearful of our own limitations, mental stamina, and the unknown. Perhaps "discomfort", "anxiety", or "uncertainty" occurs more often than actual fear. It's true that travel is not always pleasurable. There has definitely been plenty of frustrations, annoyances, mistakes, illness, etc.; however, all is worthwhile for the authentic experiences for which there is just no substitute. If you want more pleasure and less fear, take a vacation. Otherwise, embrace the fear and travel.