Friday, February 13, 2009


We leave early this morning for Mexico, a country I have never visited. We change planes in Los Angeles, a city I have never visited. Like most journeys, this one will mingle new and old, familiar and alien, and that suits my temperament. When I was younger, I wanted to go everywhere and miss nothing, and I wouldn’t have refused an opportunity to explore the world’s malaria-ridden hell holes. Today, I like my exoticism domesticated. I’m immune to the charms of entire continents. Samuel Johnson reassures me in his Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland:

“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own, and if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.”

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