The pace of words is the pace of walking and the pace of walking is also the pace of thinking.*
Above all, this is a book about people and place: about walking as a reconnoitre inwards, and the subtle ways in which we are shaped by the landscapes through which we move.**
Before tourism arrived on the scene people travelled.
These travellers could not help but engage with the lives and scenery they met and traveled through, and this experience would often change them.
Travelling doesn’t have to be to a far away place or to a place at all. We can be travellers through books, through a local initiative or purpose, a local walk with openness, a conversation that is allowed to deepen … . These serve as disruptive experience making it possible to unlearn and relearn.
Pamela Paul writes about how important boredom is to us, how children need to learn how to deal with it rather than being entertained – something important to us whatever our age:
Once you’ve truly settled into the anesthetising effects of boredom, you find yourself en route to discovery. With monotony, small differences begin to emerge, between those trees, those sweaters. This is why so many useful ideas occur in the shower, when you’re held captive to a mundane activity. You let your mind wander and follow it where it goes.^
The protopian, as I play with the word, is the travelling person who knows it is the journey that allows them to keep growing and developing across their lifetime:
Protopia is a state of becoming rather than a destination.^^
Those who travel in this way have many treasures to bring to others. If you have the time, read Constantin Cavafy’s short-though-epic Ithaka.
(*From Geoff Nicholson’s The Lost Art of Walking.)
(**From Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways.)
(^From Pamela Paul’s New York Times article: Let Children Get Bored Again.)
(^^From Kevin Kelly’s The Inevitable.)