In Jonathan Raban’s beautiful book Passage to Juneau he connects the story to of his boat journey to Juneau, Alaska, to his sense of wonder at being where he is and doing what he’s doing and how extraordinary it is he came to be there, doing that. It is a astonishingly tender love letter to the Pacific Northwest.
Throughout the book Raban’s family; his boat; Vancouver’s exploration of the area; the indigenous peoples; the topographies of land and water; and the sea passage itself are all interconnected. Their stories are never separate, never distinct from the movement of the other stories. The beauty Raban is able to share through this interconnectedness is breathtaking and tribute to his art.
Travel, I hope, will be like this for me. That I will be able to feel the shape of the world a little more distinctly by sensing more of the moving parts. There is a darker side too, but I hope it does not befall me as it did Raban.
Upon returning from his long navigation to his home in Seattle Raban found that one of the parts had moved on without him knowing. Raban’s wife discovers she liked him not being there, that things were better when he was away, and that she would prefer him to stay on his boat. It could be hard to accept that kind of interconnectedness.