dinsdag 23 april 2013

Why Rousseau liked to walk

"I can conceive of only one way of traveling that is more agreeable than going by horse. That is going by foot. The traveler leaves at his own good time; he stops at will; he takes as much or as little exercise as he wants. He observes the whole country; he turns aside to the right or the left; he examines all that appeals to him; he stops to see all the views. Do I notice a river? I walk along it. A thick wood? I go beneath its shade. A grotto? I visit it. A quarry? I examine the minerals. Every- where I enjoy myself, I stay. The moment I get bored, I go. I depend on neither horse nor coachman. I do not need to choose ready-made paths, comfortable roads; I pass wherever a man can pass. I see all that a man can see; and, depending only on myself, I enjoy all the liberty a man can enjoy."

"How many different pleasures are brought together by this agreeable way of traveling, without counting strengthened health and brightened humor! I have always observed that those who traveled in good, smooth-riding vehicles were dreamy, sad, scolding, or ailing, while pedestrians were gay, easygoing, and content with everything. How the heart laughs when one approaches lodgings! How savory a coarse meal appears! With what pleasure one rests at the table! What a good sleep one has in a bad bed! When one wants only to arrive, one can hurry in a post-chaise. But when one wants to travel, one has to go on foot."

Rousseau, Emile, or on education, Allan Bloom translation, p 411

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