The novelty of travel goes both ways

“A recurrent event in history that has always fascinated me is first contact. The most vivid examples come from travel — the age of exploration and discovery. Usually, first contact is construed as Columbus meeting his first Arawak and calling him and Indian; but consider the reverse: the Arawak meeting a fat little Italian clutching a copy of Marco Polo’s Travels on the deck of a caravel [. . .]. First contact, was a vivid and recurrent event for everyone — bumping into a stranger on the subway, finding yourself with a fellow rider in an elevator, knocking elbows with your seatmate on a plane — at a bus stop, at a checkout counter, on a beach, in a church or a movie theater, wherever we were thrown together and had to deal with it.”
–Paul Theroux, Dark Star Safari (2003)

Posted by | Comments (1)  | January 24, 2006
Category: Travel Quote of the Day

One Response to “The novelty of travel goes both ways”

  1. Andrea Anko Says:

    “The novelty of travel goes both ways”. I was just re-reading that and thought of the cab driver I met in Doolin.

    Johnny, a sweet 60-something year old man on the edge of retirement and me, a 41-year old American tourist tell each other the short versions of our life stories on the 15 minute or so drive from Doolin to Lisdoonvarna. Johnny is about to give up the cab business to go into the ferry business with his brother. He will be leaving behind financial security, but will hopefully be gaining a much less stressful life, with more time for himself.

    I, too will be soon leaving my job, and with it all the security, in order to travel and to have the time to think about what I want to do next.
    We both remark how interesting it is how we are at similar places in our lives.

    The road winds into the center of Lisdoonvarna and Johnny pulls up to the pub and tells me he is so glad to have met me. I tell him the pleasure is all mine and ask him to wish me luck as I grab my fiddle and shut the cab door. We wave goodbye to each other as I stand by the curb. I turn and walk past the people smoking at wodden picnic tables outside of the front of the pub. I push open the door. A familiar jig trickles out onto the street. I take a deep breath, walk inside, gently pushing past the crowd of standing, patrons and head toward the musicians in the corner.