R. Nemo Hill, PASSPORT

  • 16 September, 2008.....Along the way: so many details lost. But for maybe the first time since I began this travel journal seventeen years ago, it occurs to me: so what? Perhaps the journey is necessarily made up of this sediment of forgotten detail as much as it is constructed from the details of this Architecture of Memory rising visibly above hidden depths. As in dream interpretation, that architecture is infrastructurally skeletal, the bulk of what meets the mind's eye being appended later—draped like a descriptive cloak over the bones of all that has been lost to consciousness. Given this iceberg-like quality of memory, I needn't worry overmuch about narrative sequence either. For if Elsewhere is as much that realm of things forgotten as of things recalled, so each time it is recalled, it is somewhere else.
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  • "What you come for and what you get are almost always irreconcilable. That is the nature of travel."(Mark Jenkins, To Timbuktu).........."When traveling it is better to listen than to talk. This is something I learned a long time ago and it is a rule I have seldom broken without regret. The approach favors observation over engagement, of course, and it has its limitations. You no doubt miss some interesting moments; but then you escape some of the worst moments too." (Stephen Minta, On A Voiceless Shore: Byron in Greece).........."Ah, traveling makes one modest—you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world." (Gustave Flaubert, Letter to Louise Colet)....."To symbolize a man who has never traveled abroad, they draw a man with an ass's head. Because he does not listen to any story nor know what is happening in foreign lands." (The Hieroglyphics of Horapollo).........."Elsewhere is a negative mirror. The traveler recognizes the little that is his, discovering how much he has not had and will never have." (Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities).........."A traveler's legs are like blossoming branches, and he himself grows and gathers the fruit. All his wrongs vanish, destroyed by his exertion on the roadside. Travel! The fortune of a man who sits, also sits; it rises when he rises; it sleeps when he sleeps; it moves well when he moves. Travel!" (Sir Richard F. Burton, King Vikram And The Vampire: Hindu Tales).........."Bizarre recollections of countries and cities passed before my inner eye; landscapes of mist and sun, of winter and summer, of the South and the North; streets and lanes at evening and morning, silent or noisy; crowds of all countries and all races; the hospitality of palaces and cottages; docks, post houses, halts by rivers and daydreams of inns...Ah, the feeling of melancholy and lassitude of arrivals mixed with the emptiness and regret of departures! And this overwhelming, atrocious certainty that the soul will be tomorrow what it is today, and what it was yesterday, and ten years ago, and all through eternity." (O.V. de Lubicz Milosz, Amorous Initiation).........."It was a dull town, Chania, but Rydal rather liked dull towns, because they forced one to look at things—for want of anything else to do—that one might not otherwise notice." (Patricia Highsmith, The Two Faces Of January).........."Yet in Marseilles, suffering tortures before his death—'I who am barely able to put my shoe on one leg'—Rimbaud is still obsessed with wandering: 'I spend day and night thinking of means to get moving. I would like to do this and that, go here and there, see, live, leave.'" (Alain Borer, Rimbaud in Abyssinia)..........