A true journey means discovering your soul

2012-01-13 00:00

ONE of these days I am going on holiday. If I must go anywhere for a holiday, apart from South Africa, or friendly and exotic locales like Libya, Côte d’Ivoire, or any of the many gregarious multi-ethnic and multireligious states of Nigeria — let it be a moderately sunny place.

I like the Mediterranean, especially the more rural island villages in places like Greece. The people are very Zulu there, which makes me feel right at home. They have none of this irritating sophistication found in so many cosmopolitsan Europeans.

I get sick of European civilisation after a while. I prefer rural Grecians or wandering gypsy bands. The people are half savage and violently romantic and even the loose women are rather likeable and rather fat, which is extremely homely for a true man of the world who does not feel threatened by big and hot-blooded women. Goats walk all over the place which gives it a Muden feel. I expect someone to say sawubona at any moment, and tip their hat, and talk slowly and fluently like the Tugela River flowing through its deep course towards the distant sea.

I expect to meet people who can recite their entire family history in a vivid praise poem, or go on for an hour reciting an epic poem without stuttering or even needing rhymes or backing tracks. I expect to meet ancient feuds deep in the blood and long family histories. Unless of course they have reformed the entire country.

Intellectuals are one of God’s most bilious cups of wrath, whether they be know-it-all anthropologists or domineering Marxists or sheepish apologetic liberals.

Intellectuals are afraid of rural people because their sophistry means nothing to people who breed unguiltily like cattle and can sleep in the cold, as shepherds knowing another side of starlight. That is why the biggest enemies of Marxist intellectuals become not the aristocrats, but the peasants, who are calmly euthanased in peoples’ revolutions to speed up their progressive and well intentioned education.

I do not intend to go on holiday to rest. To my know-ledge only dead people need rest. I intend to be merely restless and maniacally creative in a slightly different setting for a small while.

Not for me the feeble en-nervated rests of people living in jacuzzis. When I am on holiday, whether in Libya or in a partially renovated Siberian gulag where the sun rises once a month, an ice-cold bath at five in the morning will do wonders for me.

If I do go to Greece, I will probably end up like Lord Byron, involved in a small war, dying very romantically of a horrid fever with many heartbroken and voluptuously beautiful women with long names mourning my death for lifetimes.

The tragedy of human beings is that we scheme too much and live too little. Our greatest disasters are self-made. In trying to make a utopia we destroy the little paradise we have left. In our obsession with ideas we lose contact with the living truth. In our desire for an expensive holiday we become workaholics when a holiday should be a learning experience, not a soul-destroying pursuit.

If plane tickets cost R10 000, I would rather save money and walk and fight hand-to-hand combats exhibiting my mixed martial arts techniques as I illegally cross all the borders passing small civil wars on the way. Bribery is cheap in Third World countries, along with small-scale nuclear weapons.

The fact is, I want a wild place to go to. I don’t want another Disney world or marine park which is nothing but a parody of the wild kingdom of savage beauty that lives within us.

There are few wild places left in this world, really untouched, sacred, powerful. I know of places that have built alleged wilderness gardens by cutting down a few awkward trees first. I have a few wild places around me, that no one has spolit or overrationalised yet, refuges of the soul in a institutionalised global reality.

For the very sense of being human grows from more than just society, but a sense of relationship to a fundamental and unpredictable nature whose very unpredictability is its beauty. For us to journey truly is to uncover these hidden kingdoms of the soul where nothing can be taken for granted.

• Kyle Allan is a 24-year-old poet, writer, businessperson and festival organiser.

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