I sat down in the shrine grounds under the early-summer sun, and gazed around again at the surroundings, trying to get used to what I was seeing. Absorbing and accepting this scenery as naturally as I could, mentally and viscerally. Trying to remember how I was back then. But this was all going to take a long time, as you might imagine.
To be a Patrick Leigh Fermor, a Colin Thubron, a Norman Douglas or Paul Theroux, requires always saying yes. To not-get-raped, according to every lesson I – and so many other women – have been taught, so often requires saying no
“After the initial shock of its beauty, and the toe-curling sense of serenity, my first impression of paradise was that it is nothing like where I come from, nor is it in any way a place where I profoundly belong—not at an unspeakable sum per night, which is what the Amanyara runs for even the most basic accommodation during the Christmas week.”
-Nicole Krauss takes her first beach vacation and learns how to relax in Turks and Caicos.
In the end, travel books — or personal essays — are doomed. Try to describe the gorilla and you fail. Words are never enough, and most will ultimately be forgotten. And if that gorilla is a man? Maybe better not to have begun at all.
—Nathan Deuel, “Innocent and Abroad”