I’ve been reading Javier Reverte’s Vagabundo en Africa, a book that has surprised me in many ways. Reverte sets out to Africa to follow on the footsteps of other great writers to travelled the mythical continent – Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, to name a few. I really enjoy travel books but this book has turned out to be much more than a simple travel journal. Reverte is very interested in history and his book was very well researched. It’s part travel log and part a history of all the different bits of Africa he passes through: South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Congo… All I can say is: what a history! I wish I could discuss it with Andy or some of my other friends who study African history…
This is not from the book, but rather for an article Reverte wrote to the El País newspaper:
The art of travel, in any case, supposes an act of permanent humility, because you discover that you are wrong more than you could have thought. Your prejudices disappear one by one and your principles become fewer, although they become stronger in quality. A good journey is the one that changes something inside you, and that teaches you, through the eyes of others, something about yourself.
And more than anything, travel requires a good dose of humor. You have to learn to laugh, particularly at yourself. Because if you learn the value of making fun of yourself, you’ll have something to laugh at for the rest of your life.