Rolf Potts ist einer lesenswertesten und interessantesten Travel Writer in der Szene. Ich verwende bewusst den englischen Ausruck. Travel Writing ist eine angelsächsische Tradition, und wie Amerikaner oder Engländer das angehen, dafür kenne ich im deutschen Sprachraum nichts Vergleichbares (Helge Timmerberg vielleicht). Es ist story telling von literarischer Qualität und das bedeutet: Hinausgehen in die Welt und mit nahezu anthropologischem Forschergeist und mit Reporter-Neugier erkunden, wie Menschen leben. Wie ein Land tickt, wie eine Kultur aussieht, welche Geschichten man aus der Fremde mitbringen kann.
Und, wichtigster Punkt: Man muss es erzählen können. Rolf Potts Bücher Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel und Marco Polo Didn’t Go There: Stories and Revelations from One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer sind allerbester Lesestoff und für mich der Beweis: Er kann’s.
Rolf Potts betreibt Vagabonding, wo er sich intensiv dem individuellen und langen Reisen widmet (er macht noch viel mehr: Schreiben, Unterrichten, Vernetzen …). Der einzigen Art zu reisen, die das Prädikat Travelling wirklich verdient.
Dort postet er dann und wann Fundstücke wie dieses:
Marshall McLuhan on how the modern traveler has become passive
“The photograph has reversed the purpose of travel, which until now had been to encounter the strange and unfamiliar. Descartes, in the early seventeenth century, had observed that traveling was almost like conversing with men of other centuries, a point of view quite unknown before his time. For those who cherish such quaint experience, it is necessary today to go back very many centuries by the art and archaeology route. Professor Boorstin seems unhappy that so many Americans travel so much and are changed by it so little. He feels that the entire travel experience has become “diluted, contrived, prefabricated.” He is not concerned to find out why the photograph has done this to us. But in the same way intelligent people in the past always deplored the way in which the book had become a substitute for inquiry, conversation, and reflection, and never troubled to reflect on the nature of the printed book. The book reader has always tended to be passive, because that is the best way to read. Today, the traveler has become passive. Given travelers checks, a passport, and a toothbrush, the world is your oyster. The macadam road, the railroad, and the steamship have taken the travail out of travel. People moved by the silliest whims now clutter the foreign places, because travel differs very little from going to a movie or turning the pages of a magazine. The “Go Now, Pay Later” formula of the travel agencies might as well read: “Go now, arrive later,” for it could be argued that such people never really leave their beaten paths of impercipience, nor do they ever arrive at any new place. They can have Shanghai or Berlin or Venice in a package tour that they need never open. In 1961, TWA began to provide new movies for its trans-Atlantic flights so that you could visit Portugal, California, or anywhere else, while en route to Holland; for example. Thus the world itself becomes a sort of museum of objects that have been encountered before in some other medium. It is well known that even museum curators often prefer colored pictures to the originals of various objects in their own cases. In the same way, the tourist who arrives at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or the Grand Canyon of Arizona, can now merely check his reactions to something with which he has long been familiar, and take his own pictures of the same.”
–Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964)
Our most important transitions are written into our journeys
“Travel is as familiar as the experience of the body, the wind, the earth, and this is why at all times and in all places it is a source of reference, a ground of symbols and metaphors, a resource of signification. The anthropologist and historian of religions Mircea Eliade laments the absence of genuine ritual of initiation in modern life and suggests that “modern man has lost all sense of traditional initiation.” But perhaps it is only that the reality of passage has replaced the ritual, and the most important transitions we experience are written into our journeys, which make of our lives a procession and spectacle more engrossing and transforming than any ritual could possibly be.”
–Eric J. Leed, The Mind of the Traveler: From Gilgamesh to Global Tourism (1991)
Gedanken, Thesen, Beobachtungen von klugen Köpfen über das Reisen. Es lohnt sich sehr, regelmäßig beim Travel Quote Of The Day reinzuschauen. Bringt einen auf ganz andere Reise-Ideen.