“If the world seems unfair or beyond our understanding, sublime places suggest that it is not surprising that things should be thus. We are the playthings of the forces that laid out the oceans and chiselled the mountains…But it is the vast spaces of nature that perhaps provide us with the finest, the most respectful reminder of all that exceeds us. If we spend time in them, they may help us to accept more graciously the grea, unfathomable events that molest our lives and will inevitably return us to dust.”
– Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel
I re-read this book during the trip and found it all the more meaningful while passing through the countryside, which will always remain an alien concept to me no matter how many naturey-type trips I take. And yet, it is so important, almost a need, to go to something less synthetic than Sentosa. This is despite how terribly I adjust to au naturel toilets, rocky grounds, large waves and steep slopes.
I remember meeting a guy who climbed Mt Everest twice and he told me that once his kids got older, he wanted them to hike for at least a year before they started school. He said that there’s something about nature that will teach you things like perserverance, a realistic sense of your place in this world, and perhaps, even faith in God.
Sometimes, I think the tendency to become rather vapid comes about because I haven’t been exposed enough to the startling beauty, grittiness and unpredictability of this earth.