Monday 4 May 2015

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

This is not an easy post to write, which is why I have been putting off writing it since January.  I had always vowed that, if I decided to put Hints to Lady Travellers into mothballs, I would do it cleanly, not just disappear and not post anything for five months.  Hmm.

This blog gave me a sense of purpose at a time in my life when (confronted by so many possibilities) I often felt adrift.  Documenting my travels, from London, to Cape Town, to Melbourne, and back to Dublin, helped me to make sense of the other, inner journey I was on.  Blogging about the people, the experiences, the friends I made, the nephews I gained, helped me to develop my own voice as a writer.

But while, for several years, Lady Traveller was my main role, my vocation and avocation all rolled into one, more recently the demands of my job, plus my changing circumstances (homeowner!) have conflicted with the demands of the blog.

And so I have decided to say, perhaps not goodbye completely, but goodbye for now.  I will still continue to read about lady travellers, to keep the lady traveller spirit alive in my own doings, to visit islands, to seek out strange museums - and encourage others to do the same.

I can't think of a better way to end this interlude than with these words by the Greek poet Cavafy, via The Poetry Foundation:


As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t 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 excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, 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 your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing 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 go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.