Camus in Provence

I’ve been reading a copy of Camus’ Notebooks, 1935-1942, while we tootle around Provence.He was in his early 20’s when he wrote these. I came across this passage on travel:

20121010-211929.jpg“What gives value to travel is fear. It is the fact that, at a certain moment, when we are so far from our own country…we are seized by a vague fear, and an instinctive desire to go back to the protection of old habits… This is why we should not say that we travel for pleasure.”

There’s more, but this was the part that struck me, and I talked about it with Larry over coffee at one of the numberless outdoor cafes, under the warm sun of Provence. It’s true that travel produces some anxiety. You don’t know how to do the simplest thing, or get anywhere. In some cases, you don’t know the very words you need to ask for something.

As Larry said, travel lets you separate what is human from what is cultural. The lulling protection of cultural habituation is stripped. But the intense pleasure of unfiltered experience is the reward. In any case, home tomorrow, and back to the welcoming arms of habit!

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