ON TRAVEL: I’m going away to Pasargadae

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I never read Road Dahl in school. Every so often someone tells me ‘you don’t know what you’re missing out’. But then again I didn’t grow up in an English-speaking country.

Well, I grew up with Monteiro Lobato and many other great writers that many people have never even heard of. So who is missing out after all?

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The first time I moved to a new city was when I went to uni. It was unusual where I grew up to move to another city because we had a very good university there. But by then I was already way over it, so when the opportunity came, I hopped on a plane (or an overnight coach) and never looked back.

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There is a poem by Brazilian modernist Manuel Bandeira, loosely translated as ‘I will go away to Pasargadae’, about the need to escape to a new and exciting place, the place where you belong, a place which is not only better than here, but a place where you are a better person too. There aren’t many good English translations, but it starts:

I will go away to Pasargadae
There I am a friend of the king
There I will have the woman I want
In the bed I will choose

Full version in Portuguese here.

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This poem has followed me ever since I left my hometown for uni (12 years ago – ouch!).

It’s about finding yourself in a new place, where you live your life in your own terms. Sounds good to me!

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In the poem, Pasargadae is a representation of an idyllic place. In real life, it’s an ancient Greek city in Iran.

What’s the place where you’re at your best?

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(all photos from my trip to Lisbon, shot with this great Lomo redscale film).

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