I have been born into a world that is unendingly rich, colourful, and full of surprises – a world which deserves a thousand different looks, during which it can reveal itself in all its wonderful facets. Yet, I have a tendency to always look at my environment from the same perspective – as if my eye is fixed, as if I cannot expect anything but a kind of confirmation that things are as they are. Yet, they are not so. Or, rather, they are also different.
For a long time it was very difficult for me to free myself from this conception of reality, although I always knew that it was nailed to a non-existent reality. Nowadays, too, I sometimes suddenly slide into this state of partial agony. This has perhaps something to do with education – with the fact that one grows up with foreign images and notions that one believes for a long time to be the reality, some of them all life long. In my case, petty preoccupations also kept me strapped to their side for a long spell, sapping my life-energy: Questions about my ability or my significance, my beauty and sanity, questions about right and wrong. For a while, my mind was vexed by even questions about the meaning of life, the possibility of a god, a beyond – what fortunately soon drove me away was my instinct, which has always accidentally protected me from following the most trivial answers. This, despite the fact that I perceived myself as a worm that bores its way through the soil always using the same movements and always in the same direction – as if there’s only one way; indeed, as if there’s something like a goal.
This always affords me the chance to look at things in a different way and, consequently, to act differently, to feel differently, provoke different reactions. Each second contains the possibility of a great act of creation during which my life reinvents itself to a small extent and I stand in it in a somewhat different way.
Sometimes small variations in tempo are sufficient for me to promptly perceive the environment in a different way; everything appears new, such that it seems as if I’ve never before seen it in that way. Sometimes it is sufficient for me to move my feet in a different way while walking – immediately, the world slips past me in a totally changed fashion. But sometimes it needs more. Cooking, for example, is a way to experience oneself all of a sudden as very foreign on account of the resistance of ingredients, the exotic demands of recipes, the movements of the hands, or the sensations of the nose and palate. But one of the mightiest instruments with which I can turn the world and my life into two diamonds, the numerous facets of which reflect in infinite variations, refract, blind, answer, is travelling – it just automatically leads to the point where a number of things are questioned and consequently re-negotiated. Even more suitable than the word travelling, which is used all-too-often as a cheap metaphor, is the word tour. Tour means simply a loop, at times a detour, an encompassing, encircling of something.
In recent years some tours, mostly by plane, have taken me to diverse corners of this planet. In the course of these journeys I’ve realised that the experience of touring can be transferred to minimal movements, too. Going to work, an endoscopy of the gut, waiting at the post office, swallowing a painkiller – basically everything can be conceived as a tour, and one can be touched or transformed by it. Perhaps sometimes it’s just about being properly prepared and concentrating on the moment.<p>
When I came to understand this, I resolved to move through life as a tourist as far as possible. The remainders of the boarding cards that had accumulated on my desk, that I think symbolise something of my cosmopolitanism, all of a sudden lost their significance. As a consequence it was easy for me to say goodbye to them while casting a last glance at all the sublime destinations – and which place is better suited for this than the Breton citadel of Port Louis, which shares its name with the capital of the island on which I was born into the world long ago.
First Publication: 14-1-2015