Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tannhäuser Gate

Kit Moresby: Tunner, we're not tourists. We're travelers.
Tunner: Oh. What's the difference?
Port Moresby: A tourist is someone who thinks about going home the moment they arrive, Tunner.
Kit Moresby: Whereas a traveler might not come back at all.
"The Sheltering Sky" Paul Bowles
How do you explain to the folks back home the tsunami of events and moments that take place over months on the road?  A traveler is bombarded with sights, sounds, smells, personalities,some fleeting, and experiences layer after layer of sensations that stack up and mix in parts and as a whole. The nervous system changes, becoming less reactive and knee jerk, more stoic and calm. The awe does not escape, it goes directly to the brain stem. 
In the final scene of one of my all time favorite science fiction movies, Blade Runner, the replicant Roy Batty makes speech as he is dying. The monologue is known as the “Tears in the rain.” I think about these lines as I travel and the fantastic and unimaginable experiences the character accumulated.

“I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.  Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”
- Blade Runner (1982)
So much happens on the road, it is impossible to relate it all. Even the big stuff, well, the surface can only be scratched. I will have traveled eight months, met hundreds of people, checked in and out of  dozens and dozens of hotels, eaten in countless restaurants, gazed out over untold visas, swam in waters fresh, salty and gray, smelling flowers all along the way. How do you explain all that to the folks back home?

No comments:

Post a Comment