msb ~075 A feel for the place

A feel for the place 

Geoff Dyer: 'a feel for the place'
Geoff Dyer: ‘a feel for the place’

Am I wrong to want from a programme called ‘Travel: is it worth it?’ some focus on the climate implications of a lifetime travelling to write? I agree that, while we travel with our preconceptions, travelling opens them to disruption; travellers’ accounts shake and reshape my worldview. But what of my prejudice: mass travel wastes the world faster than it makes it? Who can deny there’s a mass of travel writers?

Geoff Dyer quotes Annie Dillard — “We’re here on the planet only once, and might as well get a feel for the place” — but takes this as an adventure launch pad: “It just seems to me that this is such a fantastically varied planet, it’s really crazy not to try to get to see as much of it as possible.” No glance back for that impulse’s planet-changing power. Seeing as consumption, rather than Dillardian reflection (“The lover can see, and the knowledgeable”).

Dyer’s White Sands is a book I want to discover. He “originally wanted to name the book after the Gauguin painting that inspired his opening essay: ‘Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?There’s an invitation to get a feel for the place…

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