My mother belongs to a Prose and Poetry interest group that meets at the Central Library in Cardiff, and the theme of their next meeting is "Journeys." Mum wants to bring along a copy of T.S. Eliot's poem, The Journey of the Magi and talk about that, although somebody else will have to read it out to the others, because her eyesight isn't good, these days.
Bernard Levin, a man of wide-ranging interests, claimed to have been gripped since boyhood by the story of Hannibal's march across the Alps with his army and his elephants in 218 BC to the extent that in his 50s, in 1984, he (Levin) went on a pilgrimage (filmed for TV) to follow the route of that march on foot. His book about it is called Hannibal's Footsteps. Chris and I read that, last month, and now I'm dipping into another book Chris likes, a translation of the memoirs of Shaikh Abu Abdallah Ibn Battutah, who for 29 years in the early 14th century travelled from Granada to Hangzhou and from the Volga to Tanzania in search of fellow Muslims, or perhaps just out of sheer curiosity.
I remember Bruce Chatwin's book, that George gave us, The Songlines, which contends that mankind is instinctively nomadic and that if that impulse to travel is frustrated, we lose track of something vital.
This week, Chris and I booked another transatlantic journey for the beginning of February and a transpacific flight for November. It's not that I am yet again suffering from what the Germans call Fernweh; there are more definite reasons for these trips.