Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Weekly quote: Nomadism


“Travel can be a kind of monasticism on the move: On the road, we often live more simply, with no more possessions than we can carry, and surrendering ourselves to chance. This is what Camus meant when he said that ‘what gives value to travel is fear’—disruption, in other words (or emancipation), from circumstance, and all the habits behind which we hide.” – Pico Iyer, 1957-present, from his essay,Why We Travel

“Leaving home is a kind of forgiveness, and when you get among strangers, you’re amazed at how decent they seem. Nobody smirks at you or gossips about you, nobody resents your successes or relishes your defeats. You get to start over, a sort of redemption.” – Garrison Keillor, 1942-present, Leaving Home

“I longed for a power of vision which might overpass that limit, which might reach the busy world towns, regions full of life I had heard of but never seen; that then I desired more of a practical experience than I possessed, more of intercourse with my kind, of acquaintance with variety of character, than was here within my reach…. Who blames me? Many, no doubt; and I shall be called discontented. I could not help it. The restlessness was in my nature; it agitated me to pain sometimes.” – Charlotte Bronte, 1816-1855, Jane Eyre

“The fact that the Bill of Rights has been gutted with so little popular outcry tells us something about how freedom is understood in the American mainstream. Above all, it is a rhetorical construct, a patriotic rallying cry, but it is generally agreed to have something to do with private property rights, unfettered capitalism, low taxation, class mobility and the ability to vote politicians out of offices… It addresses the typical immigrant concerns—economic opportunity, social mobility, access to political power—and it is clearly traceable back to the philosophies of the European Enlightenment. Lurking in the American psyche, however, there exists an entirely different conception of liberty, with no roots in European political philosophy. We might summarize it as a nomad’s creed: that freedom is impossible and meaningless with the confines of sedentary society, that the only true freedom is the freedom to roam across the land, beholden to no one. “ – Richard Grant, American Nomads 

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