ON TRAVEL: I’m going away to Pasargadae


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?


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.


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.


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!


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?






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

One thought on “ON TRAVEL: I’m going away to Pasargadae

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