I say I am a traveler, that I love to travel, I want to travel. I say this to me, to convince myself selves that it is true. Then, once in a while, I think. And I wonder why I travel? Why I want to travel?
Even if I am not currently moving, I am not stopped and I play this ambiguous role in a land that is not mine. But about this static traveling, I have already written.
Now I would like to linger over one of the many facets of the trip: the escape.
Am I escaping? Am I running from something, from someone?
As I wondered I stumbled upon a very interesting article by Erika Eramo (in Italian, dor other interesting articles in English see links below). The journalist and writer published on the magazine Aperture an article titled Travel as futile escape from the ego: tecum sunt quae fugis, tosses and turns, however, when it comes to travel as an escape the two most important references are: Seneca and Baudelaire.
However Seneca writes to Lucilius quoting Vergil and with a series of rhetorical questions he tries to explain that the journey is not a way to escape, because what we are trying to get away from is our ego.
Do you suppose that you alone have had this experience? Are you surprised, as if it were a novelty, that after such long travel and so many changes of scene you have not been able to shake off the gloom and heaviness of your mind? You need a change of soul rather than a change of climate. Though you may cross vast spaces of sea, and though, as our Vergil remarks, Lands and cities are left astern, your faults will follow you whithersoever you travel.
Baudelarire, instead, chose to escape from the senses, with the use of drugs and alcohol. This was a different way to achieve the same goal: to escape, even from himself, from his grief, from what the poète maudit called Spleen
The years and centuries go by, but the man does not seem to change. Only a decade ago A. A. Tarkovsky wrote:
There is only one possible journey: the one in our inner world. I do not think you can travel more in our planet. Just as I do not think you travel to return. Man can never return to the same point where he started, because, in the meantime, he has changed. Man can not escape from himself. In the journey we carry with us all what we are . We bring with us the house of our soul, like a turtle with its shell. In truth, the journey through the countries of the world is for the man. a symbolic journey. Everywhere he goes is your soul that is looking for. For this reason a man should be able to travel.
(trasnlated by Dario Sorgato)
Even in the case of a two weeks holiday or a weekend in the mountains, the journey becomes an escape: from routine, from the city noise, traffic. But in these cases is a normal need to change the environment, scenery and recovering.
It is obvious that this is not the case. The journey as an escape from oneself is something deeper, more visceral. A kind of necessity that once carried out it seems to take a certain appeal. It is very likely that all great travelers had a reason within that fed the desire to discover and explore, but we get only the miles traveled, the notes written, the pictures taken. But what was inside their minds, their hearts? What prompted them to go? In the same way I asked myself if my travels are and have been an end in themselves, or I rid myself of the burden that rests upon me (Seneca)? Which one? From what I escape? From what, to whom shall I hide? The answer is once again one. From me.
The question, in fact, is another.
Maybe because I have not accepted who I am, as I am. Perhaps because somehow I have always hidden, and now I have only found another way to continue to do it, more profitably. Maybe I did not accept my faults, my problems and trying to hide those I started to hide myself. Creating other Me. Each one with a different role, to be played on different occasions and situations. And now, that I would only want be one, I don’t find me and meanwhile I’m nobody. I run away from me, and I think I can find nyself far away. Then, I look for ne in the best places, no doubt. While I am looking I find pieces of the world that by land or by sea made me love what in the journey we inevitably discover and learn, know, live and share.