Virtues of Travel: Part 4
For my own part I am pleased enough with surfaces– in fact they alone seem to me to be of much importance. Such things for example as the grasp of a child’s hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of friend … the sunlight on rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind– what else is there? What else do we need?
– Ed Abbey, Desert Solitaire
For a self-proclaimed literary junky, for someone who enjoys diving deep into the inter-complexities of our existence and the nuanced subterranean explorations of how we function, this quote from Abbey probably resonates with me more than most anything else I’ve ever read. A genuine appreciation for surfaces is really all we need.
And in our travels through Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, Lindsay and I came to this realization time and time again. We loved to show-up to a city and wander its streets, marveling at the architecture, seeking high places to enjoy skylines and panoramas, indulging in street food, and sitting at a corner cafe, drinking a beer and watching the world go by.
Though rich with cultural centers, museums, and indoor activities, we found ourselves often avoiding these places, more driven by the surface of a city’s present moment than its relics and its past exposed in display cases. We preferred a $3 bus pass to some remote neighborhood that most travelers might not explore, in lieu of a $10 admission ticket to an exhibit crowded by tourists.
This is not to say that our way was better, or that it was the only way to travel … not by any means. Instead, it’s to understand that we each have our own way of traveling and we must find what it is that we enjoy. We define what we need for our wanders. And so, for our own part, we were more than content with a city’s surface.