We’ve been talking about a feeling that sometimes comes with plane or train travel, and maybe the best name for it is Bonus Time. You’re in the plane or the train, and you can see the world outside the window, and you’re hurtling through it, but it’s very far away, impossible to reach. Inside, your movements are limited, but time feels oddly expansive, as though you’re getting an extra minute for every three. You’ve escaped from normal time, and your reward is a chance to just sit and relax, or read, or listen to music, or sleep. Or maybe you’ll have to do some work, but it moves along with less friction than usual, because you’re in Bonus Time, and it’s roomy in there. That’s mostly what the past couple of weeks have felt like.
When I got here on Friday, Christophe handed me a copy of Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel, and I keep coming back to this bit on page nine:
If our lives are dominated by a search for happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dynamics of this quest - in all its ardour and paradoxes - than our travels. They express, however inarticulately, an understanding of what life might be about, outside the constraints of work and the struggle for survival.
That about nails it. I go home tomorrow.
Thank you to Anne for suggesting Négatif Plus, and to Xavier for the help and the beer! I now have photos from Paris. These were taken on October 22.
More soon, from Seattle.
P.S. Happy Halloween.