We're all waiting to get somewhere.
My favorite book, or one of my favorites, is Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's autobiographical memoir, Wind, Sand and Stars. Written in 1935 while he was flying for the French Air Mail carrier, Aéropostale; it touches on friendship, love, loss, adventure and his view of what makes life worth living. Below, I've pasted one of my favorite passages from the book. Flying from Casablanca to Cisneros, he and his radio operator Neri have "slipped beyond the confines of the world, between fog and cloud" and are lost in the night sky over Western Sahara. What they think is the control tower light, suddenly appears in the darkness. Relieved, they navigate towards the beacon, asking Cisneros to flash their light; the light shines briefly and they head in the new direction... Eventually, they accept that they've wandered off course. Lost, disheartened and low on fuel, he finds that instead of the lights of Cisneros, they've been chasing stars in the night sky, leaping from point to point...
"Then other stars took up the game, and with a sort of dogged hope we set our course for each of them in turn. Each time that a light lingered a while, we performed the same crucial experiment. Neri would send his message to the airport at Cisneros: "Beacon in view. Put out your light and flash three times." And Cisneros would put out its beacon and flash three times while the hard light at which we gazed would not, incorruptible star, so much as wink. And despite our dwindling fuel we continued to nibble at the golden bait which each time seemed more surely the true light of a beacon, was each time a promise of a landing and of life-and we had each time to change our star.
And with that we knew ourselves to be lost in interplanetary space among a thousand inaccessible planets, we who sought only the one veritable planet, our own, that planet on which alone we should find our familiar countryside, the houses of our friends, our treasures."
I fell in love with that passage the first time I read it, it felt so personal and relatable. Still does. Lost in the beauty of a night sky, chasing stars, low on fuel, reaching for one more star... all while just trying to get home. What a metaphor for life, or the human condition for that matter. The night sky can be beautiful and stars can be breathtaking, so maybe it's not necessarily a bad thing to be chasing stars, it's usually not the goal. But, getting lost can make for a remarkable journey; beautiful, terrifying, simple... wandering among thousands of inaccessible planets, searching for ours. For me, travel and exploration is a chance to get lost in the company of a thousand other planets; wander amidst the crowds, each person trying to find their own planet, wherever or whatever that might be. Thats why I started a travel blog, to chronicle my journey. I imagine I'll come out of it moved by the experience, with a little more respect and appreciation for our differences and realize, like de Saint-Exupéry, we're all just trying to get somewhere, be it home or a planet. We all want the same thing...
Thanks for stopping by, this would be a good place to wrap it up. Besides, I'm rambling when I really should be wandering..
Thoughts? Comments? Let me know.