February 02, 2011 GMT
Adventure Travel For Beginners

A short while ago I was directed to this website:

Here's the text of it:

ITHACA [1910, 1911]
by C. P. Cavafy

As you set out for Ithaca,
hope that your journey is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - do not be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare sensation
touches your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon - you won't encounter them:
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope that your journey is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbours seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind -
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn, and learn again from those who know.

Keep Ithaca always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so that you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.
Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithacas mean.


In a way, I wish I'd seen this in the early days of preparation for the Cape Town journey. It might have saved a lot of effort spent on all those 'contingency' things you later realise aren't necessary.

People ask, three months after returning, "What did it all mean? Will you go on another journey? When? Where? Why? How?" (What? Who? - you get the idea?)
I try to stop thinking about all that. It's all a muddle still.

From what I've read on other bits of this web site, it can be as much as twelve or eighteen months before those answers get straight.
So finding this Sean Connery recitation helps to put thoughts in perspective for now.

(The poem is based on the journey of Odysseus back to his home on the Greek island of Ithaca after the Trojan wars, as in 'Homer's Odyssey', and can be any journey you might make or imagine, physical or spiritual).

I'll offer it to Grandson Oliver, just starting out on a Great Adventure Journey.

"I need something with a low seat-height, like Auntie Caroline's Yamaha Serow."

"Right, this'll do. Just need a good map now and a ferry ticket"

"There doesn't seem to be an engine!"

"Now, where are those laistrygonians - they'd better watch out - I've got a tow from the Police!"

In the meantime, as the editor of "Old Bike Mart" said in a recent issue, I'm making slow progress in clearing house and garage so that I can "put something in the vice without having to wheel all the bikes out first."

Then I can make a set of these, they'll be needed by the lad above, who's Mum used to tear around the roads on a Kawasaki not very long ago.
Then we'll see what happens in the way of journeys...........

Other news: Caroline and Beau, after a whirlwind visit over Christmas and New Year, are now back living and working in Khartoum for at least eighteen months, planning to retrieve their bikes from Nairobi this summer.
Here's the latest motorbike scene from the Sudanese capital:

Khartoum bikes r1998709924.jpg
Members of the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) ride on their motorcycles during a military parade in Khartoum January 22, 2011. The PDF says it has some 9930 members to help defend the country and achieve greater peace and development.

UPDATE: Things I missed while I was away. There have been Brough Superiors, Routemaster Buses and General Elections.
Now I just heard that six men departed on a journey to the planet Mars last year. The Adventure Journey to end all Adventure Journeys.
Are they nearly there yet?

Posted by Ken Thomas at February 02, 2011 03:56 PM GMT

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