Monday, June 24, 2013

Life: Books and Travel

I've been bit. Travel bug.

Darn... it bites hard.

I want to travel the entire world today. I feel like going on a travel rampage ever since I've started settling down in this city. Before I moved here I used to be a real settler, you know, the kind who's absolutely content at spending an entire lifetime in one place. Maybe it's the move that made me ballsy--I realize that even if I uproot myself, nothing bad will happen to me, the world won't implode, my family wouldn't fall apart (yeah because I'm suuuuch an important member!) and my life wouldn't go haywire.

I've been meaning to do start on international travel a year ago, but due to troubles with my nephew, my Japanese visa went unused :( I was quite looking forward to it. I had my travel money saved up, a checklist of all the things I need to bring, travelogues and maps, and I even had entire playlist ready.

I haven't quite moved on from that disappointment, yet, I believe.

Traveling the world is not just an option, as I told Greencross, it is a must. I can't not go away. And it's not just because I just want to have the experience of going out of the country; No, I'm not focused on the geography. I want to go away because I want to see humanity's diversity of culture, manner, architecture, literature and language. And most of all, I want to see the lands where my favorite books were set.

If you frequent this my book blog, The Contemporary Reader, one of my earliest post included: Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios by Yann Martel. These are the three books that I want to visit. Literally visit.


1. Captain Corelli's Mandolin is supposed to be set in the beautiful island of Kephallenia (Cephallonia) (Κεφαλλονιά), Greece, and it is the largest of all the Ionian islands in the western part of the country. In the book this is where Pelgaia, the heroine of de Bernieres' story lived with her Papa, Dr. Iannis, and where she met the steadfast soldier with a musician's heart, Antonio Corelli. It was never said in the novel what town they lived in, but according to Wikipedia and supported by other readers, "The book is believed to be inspired by the picturesque village of Farsa, just outside of Argostoli"

Farsa: quaintly beautiful, sloping, sprawling
2. Pride and Prejudice is the classic, beloved love story set in Hertfordhsire, England. This is where Mr. and Mrs. Bennet live with their five daughters. Elizabeth, the future Mrs. Darcy, loved to take long walks around the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire where Pride and Prejudice is primarily set.

Hertfordshire-- I'd love to talk a long, refreshing walk around the entire span of the town, too.
Aside from Hertfordshire, I would love to visit another county in England. Derbyshire is where the magic happens. In the novel, Fitzwilliam Darcy and the Darcy family peerage own lands in Derbyshire and has an county estate called Pemberley, which is thought to be based on the real-life estate of Chatsworth House.

Like Elizabeth, when I first saw Chatsworth house, I too, thought: " that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!"

3. The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios tells of a story of two close friends, one is struggling with how to cope with AIDS, an existential crisis and his mortality, the other trying to help by telling a story about an Italian immigrant family who lived in Helsinki, Finland. I normally don't like short stories, but this one was beautifully told with a lot of metaphorical injections and parallelism, so it stuck with me all through these years. I want to visit Helsinki; even though the story never said where exactly I'm sure being young, active people, the two friends might have operated in the city's downtown mostly. I'd like to try and discover Sweden because here's some opportunity in it for me though, so I shall wait and see about that, too!

Esplanadi Park in Helsinki with a quintessential European feel

Oh, one could dream... and write the frustration away.

I would not consider traveling a hobby (unless I'll be stinking rich, burning money with airplane gas is not the lifestyle I want to subscribe to!) but I want my travels to mean something. I realize now there's a reason why I didn't really want to go to places like Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia... They don't mean anything to me at all. I don't want to go to places just because. I want to say, "I want to go to X and Y and Z  because... " with long-winded, excited, overanalyzed reasons hahaha!

Books were my first windows to the world; They were the ones who taught me that there are different things in life I need to see.

I want to broaden my perspective in life through literature and travel. My books somehow define me, I won't lie. They have been my constant companions that 'talk' to me about a lot of things when people didn't even want to try. I can reach out to them anytime I want to. They've been there through my saddest days, so I'd like to take them to happier places.

Planning starts now. I'm kinda thankful I have a paying job that's enough to cover my ass expenses, because this is NOT going to be a PHP 50,000 vacation, surely. The last time I checked, the plane ticket to an airport in Cephallonia alone costs that.

Please wish me good luck in my plans, and may the winds of travel take me to the places I want to go!

If there's anyone reading this who's interested to volunteer for a 1-week organic farming activity in Sweden, let me know! Plane tickets/Visa on you but lodging and food is free.

1 comment:

  1. Budget! Oh that dreaded word!
    I wish I would even stop eating just to have enough to put away!

    I would love to visit Italy as well. I always think it's so romantic. There's always that shrine to Juliet I'd like to drop by at.