Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wherever You Go, There You'll Be

Setting off on a big international trip, I asked an eighty-year-old man with the reputation of being a wise counselor for his input on my destination options. I was obsessing over this decision. He responded, "The place doesn't matter, because wherever you go, there you'll be." He was hinting at the annoying truth that my character, not places or circumstances, was hindering my spiritual journey. He was absolutely right.

Paul Theroux wrote a classic book on heading for parts remote with spiritual as well as physical baggage. In The Mosquito Coast, Allie Fox leaves home for a barely-mapped corner of Honduras. He has the survival skill of a foot fungus. Yet, he's a cruel bully married to a weak conflict-avoider. Thus, wherever they go, there they be.

Harrison Ford and River Phoenix did a film version, but the novel is better. Harrison does a masterful job portraying a guy who is too smart and independent for the world's bullshit. He makes the character relatable, despite the demonic scourge Allie Fox is to his family.

Watching the sought-after Garden of Eden descend into the jungle from hell is rather shocking. It seems like humanity has met the enemy, and it is us. I highly recommend this work for all travel lovers - not to promote chickening out and staying home but getting out and growing up. Travel demands character but also instills it in those who are willing to learn. You actually can hit the road and leave it all behind - except yourself.


  1. This comment is better than the others


    Mauri Alan Dominguez Flores

  2. I've never read the novel, or saw the movie, in fact.

    I find with travel that the pleasure of it is in the journey, not the destination.