Wednesday, September 3, 2008

To Travel is To Live

Day 175
During this trip I have felt like I have been living in the land of make believe. Much of the itinerary I have been following I researched and planned about 3 years ago, right when I had the idea for this trip. I´m constantly amazed that I am actually seeing it through. Even now, almost 6 months after leaving home I still can´t believe that I am here. I am really fortunate.

As my life is a fairy tale I decided to learn more about the actual fairy tales. I headed off to Odessa where Hans Christian Anderson had been born.

Anderson grew up in poverty. His mom was a washerwoman and his father a shoemaker. His father died quite young and his mother was a drunk, HCA eventually severed all ties with her. Through odd jobs and an eventual patron Anderson managed to get an education. He then had some success as an actor and a play write. Anderson´s first trip abroad was in 1831 and his last and 31st was in 1873. Overall he spent 9 years on the road. Anderson wrote travel books and in one of them said that "to travel is to live."

On one trip he stayed in London with Charles Dickens and his family. Apparently he really over stayed his welcome, he also did not speak very good English. Dickens later said that he felt that Anderson was unable to express himself in any language.

Anderson wrote several novels and travelogues, but is best known for his children's stories. He even wrote the Ugly Duckling as a parable of his life.

In 1875 HCA died of liver cancer. It was a bit sad when I got to this point. The artifacts on display had portrayed him as an amazing person.

Next up was the house he was most likely born in. It seemed quite large, I had to remember that there would have been 7 families living here. The last room had examples of his books in all sorts of different languages. The only book that is in more languages is the bible.

HCA wrote that life ”is like a voyage to some known point. I stand at the rudder, I have choose my path, but God rules the storm and the sea. He may direct it otherwise, and then, happen what may, it will be the best for me... my life will be the best illustration of my work.”

After wandering a bit more I checked out the St. Knud Cathedral. There were some bones here, but I didn't know the story.

It was time to go back at this point. The hostel was still dead. I don't understand, places aren't often like this. I need a place with some life!

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