TUNISIA (December 2009)

Why does one travel? The Zen Buddhist in me knows that anything one is hoping to find can be found within, so there is no need to go anywhere. Yet Zen stories are often filled with tales of monks and disciples in transit, so maybe it's not about finding something at all. According to Lao Tzu, "A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." In other words, it's the journey, not the destination.

Then again, Graham Greene writes in The Lawless Roads: "The border means more than a customs house, a passport officer, a man with a gun. Over there everything is going to be different; life is never going to be quite the same again after your passport has been stamped and you find yourself speechless among the money-changers. The man seeking scenery imagines strange woods and unheard-of mountains; the romantic believes that the women over the border will be more beautiful and complaisant than those at home; the unhappy man imagines at least a different hell; the suicidal traveler expects the death he never finds. The atmosphere of the border--it is like starting over again."

Whatever the reason, I find myself on the road again.

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