Brain Food #464

What we may find while wandering

Following yesterday’s theme of walking is that of wandering, a concept often misunderstood, and even more often associated with the word ‘aimless’. Indeed, being so used to having a destination, what happens when there is no going from A to B, when B is not available?

Wandering has a certain sense of lightheartedness, not bound by the pressures of being ‘on time’. When wandering, time disappears, and whether mentally or physically, we may discover the things we needed, the ones we never knew we were looking for.

In James Joyce’s Ulysses, the protagonist is Leopold Bloom, a man very unlike Odysseus. The book is one of the longest and hardest in modern literature, yet the entire span of the novel takes place over one uneventful day. An antihero, a nobody, Bloom is not special, and very easy to identify with.

The book follows him as he wanders around the city of Dublin. Through his wandering, we rediscover the little things that matter in an unspecial life: having a meal, the way we feel about ourselves, the way we feel about others. The day passes, like many others.

“Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.”

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