Bruce Chatwin On Travel

Having just been sent a copy of Bruce Chatwin's Photography Book Winding Paths, I was pleased to find this piece of text in the short but informative introduction. 

… Instead, we should perhaps allow human nature an appetitive drive for movement in the widest sense. The act of journeying contributes towards a sense of physical and mental well being, while the monotony of prolonged settlement or regular work weaves patterns in the brain engender fatigue and a sense of personal inadequacy. Much of what the ethologists have designated 'aggression' is simply an angered response to the frustrations of confinement…

The tenacity with which nomads cling to their way of life, as well as their quick-witted alertness, reflects the satisfaction to be found in perpetual movement. As settlers, we walk off our frustrations. The medieval church instituted pilgrimage on foot as a cure for homicidal spleen.

Mans real home is not a house, but the road, and … life itself is a journey to be walked on foot.

I think its time I got back on the road…


This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 at 12:29 and is filed under Travel Writing, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed or trackback from your own site. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. Sounds an interesting book. The idea of a Nomadic life resonates: I’m missing the simplicity of having a tent, bag and a few bits on the bike, and not needing anything else.
    I think I need to get out on the road soon as well…

  2. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve only just discovered Bruce Chatwin but it was worth the wait. I can’t think of another travel writer that managed to capture the process and philosophy so perfectly. An absolute joy.

  3. could not agree more! he is also a superb and honest photographer of the old school! ie no digital memory cards for bruce!

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