RETURN: Journey around my bed

RETURN: Journey around my bed

After the middle-August summer holidays (for most of you even if not all!), here for you a brief story to wish you a nice return to your homes with a good, and exciting feeling. Have a nice return-Sunday-evening!

The sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.” (Pascal, Pensees, 136)

In the year 1790 Xavier De Maistre undertook a journey around his bedroom. […] In his life he experimented two approaches to travel described first in his Journey to the Equinotial regions of the New continent, and Journey around my bed.

The first required ten mules, thirty pieces of luggage, four interpreters, a chronometer, a sextant, two telescopes, a Borda theodolite, a barometer, a compass, a hygrometer, letter of introduction to the King of Spain and a gun. The second, a pair of pink and blue cotton pyjiamas. […]

Pillows, credits by Vinny83

Without needed for luggage, he travels to the sofa, the largest piece of furniture on his room. […] There he admired the elegance of his feet and remembers the pleasant hours he has spent cradled in its cushions, dreaming of love and advancements of his career. From his sofa, de Maistre spies his bed […], he feels grateful for the nights he has spent in it and takes pride that his sheets almost match his pyjamas.  […]

And yet De Maistre’s work springs from a profound and suggestive insight:

that the pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset which we travel than on the destination we travel to.

What then is travelling mindset?

Receptivity might be said to be its chief characteristic. We approach new places with humility. […] Home finds us more settled in our expectations. […] It seems inconceivable that there could be anything new to find in a place which we have been living in for a decade or more. We have become habituated and therefore blind. […]

Dressed in blue and pink pyjamas, satisfied within the confines of his own bedroom, Xavier De Maistre was gently nudging us to try, before taking off for distant hemispheres, to notice what we have already seen.

(The text has been taken from the book The Art of Travel written by Alain the Bottom, which is inspiring several posts on this blog. Also I would like to say a special thank you to Vincenzo, who took an amazing picture for this post…very much similar to a visual poem!)

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One Response to RETURN: Journey around my bed

  1. Dovydas!? 21 agosto 2012 at 01:53

    Molto bella la foto e anche quello che hai scritto.
    Quella frase di Pascal, che amo moltissimo, è stata uno dei miei tarli
    per molto molto tempo. E penso lo sarà in futuro. C’è tutto quello che non capiamo.
    Tutto il vuoto che abbiamo. Tutto il mistero dell’uomo.
    Grazie del messaggio. L’ho apprezzato molto. Davvero.
    Ti regalo una poesia di un po’ di tempo fa ispirata da quella frase. O forse no. Però stava lì sotto la pelle.

    La rassegnazione non ha niente da invidiare all’eroismo

    Ci arrotola nel buio dei gomiti
    il rantolo
    dei nomi sulle cose
    o la distanza parallela
    di un binario.

    Ci invecchia la fiducia,
    abitare la rinuncia,
    lo spiraglio tra le forme
    costrette dentro agli angoli.

    La resa degli spifferi
    la luce nell’inerzia delle mani

    il seme, una mancanza

    immobili e in partenza
    nel vuoto di una stanza


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