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The True Traveller Should Have No Objectives

Gao Xingjian

The true traveller should have no objectives. Gao Xingjian

Gao Xingjian (Chinese: 高行健; pinyin: Gāo Xíngjiàn), born on 4 January 1940 in Ganzhou, China, is a French writer, playwright, director and painter of Chinese origin who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2000.

Is travelling discovering or discovering yourself? Probably both, or rather it is the promise of discovering the world, whereas in the end it is only oneself that one discovers. Because of this observation, it is useless to want to set objectives during your trip, it is better to let yourself be carried along by the liking of encounters and visits. A traveller who is wise enough not to rush things, knows that everything comes at the right time. When you set a goal, you limit the potential for discovery that travel offers. Since we will be different throughout our journey, it is illusory to set a goal.

A sincere traveller is not a conqueror, he only wishes to conquer himself. It is in the encounter with the world and others that he will become aware of his true nature. The world is for him a playground and not a hunting ground. He cultivates the freshness of his gaze by not allowing himself to be influenced by preconceptions or hasty judgements. An objective prevents us from seeing things as they are. Our desire for fulfilment turns into an eye-opener that stifles our vision and paralyses inner progress. The true traveller is the one who is wise, i.e. he does not pretend to know in advance the real object of his journey, he will sooner or later know it and therefore he does not rush things.

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