TRAVELS IN FAMILIAR LANDS
A collection of essays that might have been called
"From Our Virtual Correspondent"
"All my life I have been a traveller, from family holidays in France and Italy as a child to school trips in Germany and Austria; then longer expeditions as an adult: more than five years living in Israel, a year in France, four in Canada, my current sojourn in the United States. Travels in every part of Europe from the tip of southern Spain to the icy waters of St Petersburg; travels in both southern and northern Africa; visits to Australia, Malaysia, Mexico. But there are other forms of travel too. As well as the United States I am currently living in 16th century Spain, mostly around La Mancha though our journeys are extensive; in a surprisingly different version from the one I knew of London circa 1984 (Orwell is insistent that the date may not be accurate); in Elsinore before the earliest of the Middle Ages; in 3rd century CE Babylon and mediaeval Troyes – and all of these without so much as getting out of bed.
"I have been privileged to see the world, usually at low-cost. Now, as I approach the end of my fifth decade, I begin to wonder which of the places I still haven’t seen might already be behind me. The summit of Mount Everest, for example, was never likely to be one of my conquests, while Damascus and Isfahan need visas, and my passport says Israel rather too often. In my novel 'A Journey In Time', and as hinted above, I discovered a means of travelling that requires neither visas nor passports, nor even buses and taxis let alone trains and planes, a new form of travel that had never been available at any point of human history, but is now the most common form of travel used by all of us every day.
"In my collection of minimalist tales and parables 'The Captive Bride' I included a tale for which even the term minimalist may be an exaggeration. It was entitled 'The Prisoner' and it read: 'He dreamed, as all men dream, of liberty - the freedom to travel where and when he pleased, across time as well as space. Yet how could he fulfill that dream, confined as he was, locked in so small a cell, of so closely guarded a tower, on such a fortress of an island, with nobody to talk to but the silent warders, and nothing else to do to pass his time than to work his way, book by book, through the infinite shelves of the prison library?' The tale leaves the reader to answer the rhetorical question out of his or her personal experience. This book of travel essays, written in an age in which the Internet has expanded the boundaries of the library to the very edges of the universe, is my answer. Perhaps it will inaugurate a new genre. I look forward to reading the accounts of my fellow-travellers."