The Armchair Traveller

Insights from Frances Croxford, The Seeking State

“We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring  Will be to arrive where we started  And know the place for the first time”.

TS Eliot’s Little Gidding, Four Quartets

Eliot’s ‘voluptuary sweetness of May’ precipitates the 1~minute dash to the airport. Whether we travel light or are prepared for every eventuality {I have travelled with a stationery box since I was 10, truly making me Anne Tyler’s Accidental Tourist}, society expects that we are all now expert, adventurous travellers. Now, we must be mindful too.

The Seeking State believes that good habits should not be restricted to high days and holidays. Gift giving means so much more when it’s not the 25th December. Likewise, we do not have to wait until August for the best armchair travel that a book can offer.

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

W.B. Yeats, When you are Old

Take down that book and relax into armchair travel of the mind: an inner journey of the imagination that can bring inspiration, energy and reflection. We might think we know the landscape, but the joy is to set out with an open mind, make associations and arrive where you began, altered by the journey. Armchair travel can counterbalance the pressures of mindful summer travel.

1. Escape the stress of airports and security officiousness with armchair travel where you can dictate the tools of your journey. Mapping your inner journey, can require an environment unique to you: that armchair with that view: over~sized sheets of paper to create a large mind map of associations: a particular bar and glass of red.

“We want to make good time, but for us now, this is measured with the emphasis on ‘good’ rather than on time…

Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

2. Pressure of perfect companionship and uninterrupted blue skies is replaced by the energy and imagination you put into reading. How far you walk yourself into the book, reflects how much you will receive back from it.

3. Burdened by so much to do and so little time to do it, is counterbalanced as you find your own rhythm as you journey with a book: an hour before the day starts, an escape at lunchtime, or a private moment before the day ends.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward:

But it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

Ursula K Le Guin