We lucky ghosts

Pozzo di luce - foto di Clara Nubile
It's true that travel is the saddest of pleasures, the long-distance overland blues. But I also thought
what I'd kept fretting about throughout my trip, like a mantra of vexation building in my head, words I never wrote. Most people on earth are poor. Most places are blighted and nothing will stop the blight getting worse. Travel gives you glimpses of the past and the future, your own and other people's. "I am a native in this world", aspiring to be the Man with the Blue Guitar. But there are too many people and an enormous number of them spend their hungry days thinking about America as the Mother Ship. I could be a happy Thai, but there is no life on earth that I am less suited to living than that of an Indian, rich or poor. Most of the world is worsening, shrinking to a ball of bungled desolation. Only the old can really see how gracelessly the world is ageing and all that we have lost. Politicians and policemen are always inferior to their citizens. No one on earth is well governed. Is there hope? Yes. Most people I have met, in chance encounters, were strangers who helped me on my way. And we lucky ghosts can travel wherever we want. The going is still good, because arrivals are departures. 

(Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Paul Theroux)    


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