Of geographers and explorers

“I’m not an explorer. I am a geographer  (…) A geographer doesn’t go out to describe cities, rivers, mountains, seas, oceans and deserts. A geographer is too important to go wandering about. He never leaves his study. But he receives the explorer there. He questions them, and he writes down what they remember. And if the memories of one of the explorers seem interesting to him, then the geographer conducts an inquiry into that explorer’s moral character.”

(From ‘The Little Prince’, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, chapter XV)


A few weeks ago a friend of mine announced to have a sabbatical. She decided to take a journey to her past, finding her roots. So she quit her job and bought a ticket to Colombia. And she flew away yesterday.  I don’t know if she’s gonna stay in Colombia, or that she merely transit to another country. She doesn’t know whether she will be back in 6 months’ time, or within a year, or that she may never come back at all. All she know is that there’s nothing left for her to stay.

This complete U-turn in her life got me thinking about stuff lately. I used to have dreams of going on an adventure, like Bilbo Baggins. Climbing the lonely mountains, chasing dragons and exploring new countries. Somewhere between growing up and getting older I lost the urge of taking the plunge towards something that’s outside my comfort zone. However, just like Bilbo, I too have another side of being a homester type. Is it the comfort of a nice home and having a job to pay my mortgage that keep me? Is it the fear for not wanting to leave everything I know behind me, because something worse might happen? Or am I just lazy? I couldn’t help but wonder, what do I really want in my life? Am I truly a wanderer in my secret heart longing for a fresh clean start in another part of this world? Or am I just the traditional type of girl who love the simple life of having a house called a home and friends called a family? Is it possible to be an explorer as well as a geographer?

Photo credit from the motion picture 'The Hobbit - an unexpected journey'

Photo credit from the motion picture ‘The Hobbit – an unexpected journey’

I admire the courage of my friends decision. To leave everything behind and start anew somewhere else. Can I ever do that? Do I ever want to do that? What about you? Do you ever feel like that? Do you ever have the urge to go on an adventure? Do you wish you could just walk out on your life and start somewhere completely new? Or are you happy/satisfied with your life right now, just the way it is, wherever that may be?