Sunday, December 04, 2005

An Armchair Traveler

Today I found myself immersed in the travels of a Chinese monk, Hiuan Tsang, who traveled to India in the 7th century. Tsang's journey captured my imagination because the impetus, the itch that produced an urgency to set out, evolved from his desire to hear the answers to some of his questions. His thirst to seek out Buddhist sages propelled him forward.

Reading about individuals who set out on quests remains a vicarious journey over cups of tea, or coffee. But not every traveller enables the reader to enter into the trip. Some writers write the "and then" stories. Then I , and then I.

The why behind the beginning needs to be important—but then the trip itself must capture the reader's imagination. Tsang's descriptions evoked the land. The details placed me on the road.

Travel literature appeals to all of us who respect and secretly become the seeker. We occupy an important position—we're the armchair travelers.