Why do we travel? Perhaps because, despite everything, being there still makes a difference, still makes the virtual world seem like a mirage.

Why this pull towards unspoiled nature, especially the North? Because it’s impersonal. And what is the impersonal? It’s what points towards the holy. Weil once said in her hard, uncompromising way: ‘So far from its being his person, what is sacred in a human being is the impersonal in him. Everything which is impersonal in man is sacred, and nothing else.’

The impersonal is a kind of border that becomes more dangerous the closer you get to it. I did a hike in the forest today and it occurred to me how easily things could go wrong before you’re at the forest’s mercy. Say I broke my ankle on one of these rocks, I thought, with no signal, attacked by a million mosquitoes and ants. I think one has to be in that sort of landscape, be frightened by its indifference and one’s own smallness, to even begin to understand it. There were cabins there for campers. Could I ever camp in such a place, let alone live there? Probably not. I only enjoy it for so long until I want to get back to my hostel, a restaurant and a bar.

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