The sea again

In view of our earlier discussion, about how a boat can be home, I felt the need to share this passage I’ve just come across while re-reading Conrad’s Heart of Darkness:

“(Marlow) was a seaman, but he was a wanderer, too, while most seamen lead, if one may so express it, a sedentary life. Their minds are of the stay-at-home order, and their home is always with them – the ship; and so is their country – the sea. One ship is very much like another, and the sea is always the same. In the immutability of their surroundings the foreign shores, the foreign faces, the changing immensity of life, glide past, veiled not by a sense of mystery but by a slightly disdainful ignorance; for there is nothing mysterious to a seaman unless it be the sea itself, which is the mistress of his existence and as inscrutable as Destiny. For the rest, after his hours of work, a casual stroll or a casual spree on shore suffices to unfold for him the secret of a whole continent, and generally he finds the secret not worth knowing.”

I’m enjoying contrasting this attitude of the working seaman with the passion for “travel” of those of us for whom travelling is not work. My husband, a touring actor, travels extensively for work, and like Conrad’s seaman does tend to treat other countries and cities with “a slightly disdainful ignorance”. Not like the eager, impression-hungry writer! Check out some beautiful writing and recent photographs at dappledwithdew, Kathy George’s blog, for an example of how one writer engages mindfully with new places.

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About andreabaldwin

I'm a freelance writer, publishing travel articles and features. I also write short fiction and novels for adults, young adults and children. I've been a registered psychologist for 20 years, and my past careers have included clinical psychology, organisational psychology, and management. I'm interested in the interactions between people and places, particularly how the natural environment supports the health of individuals and communities, and the importance of caring for our environment. I'm also interested in the ways people use writing to better understand their own thoughts and feelings, and to connect with others.
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One Response to The sea again

  1. I’ve only ever been on freshwater motorboats and cruise ships, but I always feel at home on the water on those rare events. I’ve never gotten seasick, but I have gotten land sickness after disembarking from a trip that encountered rough seas.

    I can relate to both the imagery and the fascination!

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