Review 2010: The Opinion Engine: 18/31: What three places in the world would you most like to visit? (suggested by Ben Skinner)

Bachhill of the bush mountain bothy

Travel After visiting both the RSC and The Globe last year, the places I’d really like to visit has dwindled somewhat. For all my desperation to stand at the top of the Empire State Building, I know that the romantic notions I have would be broken by how "unlike the films” the experience would be, and the number of tourists, the queues, the weather, the lack of early 90s Meg Ryan. That was certainly the case when I finally stood in front of the Mona Lisa or the Rosetta Stone and had to share the space with thirty other people all of whom were jostling to have their picture taken with these icons rather than seek to treat them as objects of interest and intellectual discovery.

Which is why I’ve lately been hankering after spending a month, perhaps longer, in a cottage somewhere, fairly secluded, basic amenities, with a pile of books to keep me company, a radio, but no television, no internet, no people. Just lots of time to catch up on all the reading I’ve kept putting off and putting off for most of my life. As someone who’s used to the noise of the city (even living on the edge of a park there’s some traffic and shouting) the prospect scares me a little bit, the lack of artificial noise and no interuptions. I wonder how I’d feel at the inevitable end, drawn back into those things. Would I cope? Would I be depressed?

Because really it’s probably that I just need a disconnection, to be able to go somewhere else were nothing makes sense any more, were everything is a challenge. That’s how I imagine Tokyo to be. Photographs of the city are filled with familiar shop names, but the sheer chaos of life, of being part of such a mass of people is equally attractive because I suspect it allows you to be alone even in a crowd. The trick, and this is the case in most large cities, is to not let that tip over into loneliness, and the problem with any city is that unless you live there, work there, you’re only ever a tourist and can never truly be there. It’s all about time, and having the time to become geographically acquanted.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

I can recommend a cottage on Skye that fits your requirements and looks rather like the one in the picture. Skye is well worth visiting.