Around the world with Romanian authors in eight books
Romanian writers around the world and eight books about their journeys. With the coming of summer, we also start making holiday plans. In addition to travel plans and airline tickets, we also make reading lists.
So in this article, I will do two things in one: we travel the world while reading.
But the truth is that this idea was inspired by this article and the first challenge was Desiree Halaseh on social media.
So, please read:
First stop: India
In 2012 Humanitas Publishing House publishes Sega-Namaste’s travel journal. A novel of spiritual adventures in India. Sega leaves, at a turning point in his life, on a journey of initiation and rediscovery.
Sega is in fact part of the true Indian adventure: discover a whole kaleidoscope of exotic characters and their stories of life, the delicious local dishes with names impossible to pronounce, the unmistakable aroma of masala tea, the charm of an Asian woman and the regenerating force of catharsis. But, beyond all this, the salt and pepper of the book are represented by the series of small events, surprised with a filmmaker’s eye full of humour, humour and endowed with the remarkable intuition of the dose of suspense, which takes you to the last line of the story.
We are still in India, with Desiree Halaseh’s travel diary – Space between clouds. With the backpack through India, who are looking for an escape from the office on a journey in which they experience new sensations and finally discover themselves. I discussed India with Desiree Halaseh in this episode of the Book Break podcast.
“The space between the clouds is special writing, a wonderful foray into the Indian subcontinent, a tasty and true story, an initiative experience in which most of those who came in contact with the fascinating and mysterious world of India is found.” (Mihaela Gligor, director of Cluj Center for Indian Studies, UBB)
All about India also writes Mihaela Gligor in the volume of India-notes, essays, journal, published by the publishing house of the Book of Science. It gathers articles published in the magazines Timpul and Verso, but also unpublished excerpts from the journal about India and its people.
Second stop: Nepal
Sega- Namaste. An adventure novel in Nepal. Humanitas Publishing House
After the Indian adventure, Sega returns with a new travel diary, this time to Nepal. Arriving in Nepal due to bureaucratic causes, Sega goes through meditation sessions, Vipassana courses in isolation, riding elephants, to finally get closer to understanding Namaste greetings.
“I measure him from head to toe. It doesn’t take me long. One meter back, as you would say. It’s kind of funny how he gestures from his square shirt and looks humbly, to impress me, under the cozoroc of his shabby cap, with a mountain guide.
I shrug, ready to leave, but something still holds me in place. Is it to be his miracle old lady? Or the tricky way he spills words into complicated sentences, sometimes incomprehensible as if he were translating his thoughts from Nepali into English with Google Translate? Or my curiosity to find out more about Shangri-La, the country I know for sure was kidnapped by an English writer, at the beginning of the last century, about forty years after Bram Stoker gave birth to Dracula? ”Sega – Namaste. An adventure novel in Nepal
The third stop: Africa
Ana Hogaș and Ionuț Florea- Oyibo. 2 people, 1 motorcycle, 14 months in Africa. Humanitas ed
The travel journal of architects Ana and Ionuț is one of my soul books. The Africa they describe in their travel notes is an Africa of contrasts, of economic and cultural changes, where the “white man” is at the same time an angel and a demon. The simple description, with attention to detail, brings me to the journals of explorers like Charles Darwin or the first polar explorers. The book collects 14 months of travel from north to south, from east to west, through mud, sand, infernal heat and torrential rain. About the book, I discussed in this episode from the book Pause podcast.
Oyibo or Oyinbo is a word that refers to Caucasians, in Nigeria referring to Europeans. In a broader context, it means a person without African descent.
“Oyibo will not leave you indifferent, you know. You might want to resign, leave the world, you might even want to do this with a motorcycle. You may want to be alive. “(Mihai BARBU, photographer, author of the book I sell kilometres)
Photos from their travels can be found on Into the World.
Fourth stop: Silk Road
Sabina Fati – Alone on the Silk Road. 80 days, 15 000 km, 2 500 years of history, Humanitas Publishing House
Whoever believed that adventures to the Far East died with Marco Polo is wrong. Sabina Fati discovers the beauty and uniqueness of Silk Road, but at the same time rediscovers the history and myths woven around Silk Road.
“At first I thought I was alone with the mountain, but I immediately saw the Tajik soldier, the guard of the barrier in front of me. A huge stoop, dressed in a long coat and wearing a traditional Russian hat over his ears. He looked at me like something weird. I extend his passport, but the man does not make any gesture, looks away and then turns my back. It’s June 1, 2014, and I’m gone for 45 days in my search for the New Silk Roads. The five or ten minutes I spent in front of the barrier seemed like hours and I suddenly realized that I was in front of a garrison of savage soldiers living in Pamir. I saw all the boys in the garrison around me. Dress lightly and get out of the other cabin, well warmed up, wearing slippers, loose-fitting knee-length trainers and thick cotton blouses. He looks at me like something good to eat and I feel like I am grinning at each other. I’m starting to be scared. What can I do against these zdrahoni alone? I have no chance, I tell myself, and I smile at them like people who could help me. “(Sabina FATI)
“Marco Polo, who travels and lives on the Silk Road between 1271 and 1295, recounts that the nomads fed on milk and game:” they eat marmots, which, during the summer, in those plains, are abundant at every turn. He also eats horse or dog meat, sweetens all kinds of meat, even drinks mare’s milk ». Almost the same way, the Kyrgyzites and the Semi-Masonic Tajiks are also nourished. Towards the end of May, when the snow has not yet melted on the coasts of the mountains, you see them settling with their yurts and animals over 3,000 meters, where the air is strong and the sky very close, living the same life as their ancestors, without current. electrically and lacking all the facilities of the comfort of the 21st century, which they cannot afford, they abandon them during the summer. In the evening, they sit in the yurt around the small stove fed with manure and coal dust and drink kumis, a drink made from fermented mare’s milk, which Marco Polo believed to be white wine. We tasted it in Karakul, a village in Pamir located at over 4,000 meters altitude, where the houses are always covered in a cloud of dust. My host, a small, tall, dry-eyed man with long eyes, poured me with a wooden polon into the tea bowl and looked at me curiously as I sipped the whitish drink, thinking, perhaps, that I was throwing barley on geese, that I can not appreciate the true value of the liquor that blesses you, helps you sleep better, warms you when it is cold, does you good when you are cold, takes your belly pain like a miracle: a panacea of Asia central. Sabina Fati-Alone on the Silk Road
Fifth stop: Black Sea
Sabina Fati – Black Sea Occident in 90 days. Seven countries, eight borders and a prime-time coup. Humanitas Publishing House
After Silk Road, Sabina Fati returns with a new travel diary, this time around the Black Sea. In the new book, the author creates a balanced mix of anthropology, history, journalism and literature, placing the book alongside the great universal travel journals.
“In 2016, around the Black Sea I saw almost everywhere the military, and behind the relaxed atmosphere, which you generally find in ports, I felt precipitation and anxiety, as if the good days are nearing the end, if not they are already finished.
This capricious sea, between the worlds, always nervous and difficult to control, is a place of endless disputes, hidden discontent and warrior strategies. The periods of apparent tranquillity were not without battles, and the landscape of the whole region suffered permanently fragmentation, merger, rupture, dislocation, annexation.
The countries around the Black Sea have never been friends, perhaps because people are not interested in getting to know each other, they are not curious about how their neighbours live and what they can buy from them. The wonder and desire to know the ancient Greeks, who established each port with tradition from the Euxine Bridge, were replaced at first by greed and then by the pride of the domination of the whole sea.
The spheres of influence abandoned and rebuilt after 2014 when for the first time in post-war Europe a state took with the neighbouring territory japca, have once again transformed the Black Sea into a place of confrontation. Here, everything is happening slowly, little by little, little by little, waiting for the “ninth wave”, which could be devastating. “(Sabina FATI)
Sixth stop: Andes
Marius Chivu – Three weeks in the Andes. Humanitas Publishing House
After the adventure in the Himalayas, Marius Chivu is on his way again, this time to the Andes. The result of this trip, made without the help of technology and web applications, is a journal full of historical and cultural details and references. In short, a journal that sets you on a journey.
“If you are willing to travel really you do not need maps online and carrier applications for accommodation-transport-luggage-weather-food-security-exchange-currency-records-expenses. The technological world we live in now offers you applications over applications, as if you were going on a journey around the planets, not among people. And the need for as many technological crutches is induced, when all you have to do is move your legs and use your mind. People travelled and made great discoveries before the digital age, using compasses, incomplete maps and their own senses. And what a pleasure to use a paper map! Its fragility, the wide gesture of the unfolding, the putting of the finger on a tiny point and the exercise of the imagination to estimate the distances, to complete everything that is not seen, to “glimpse” the real geography, then the moment when, finally reached destination, the sought-after place displays its dimensions, always surprising, under your enthusiastic gaze! Where once the phrase would have appeared hic are lions, now only appear uncertain pixels, the sign of digital nothingness. Maps on / offline and GSP turn the world into a travel simulation and, worst of all, make you dependent on the whims of technology, distract you from signs, turn you into a geographical illiterate. In order to get on the road, you do not need applications, you need to lean. “(Pp. 120-122)
“Under the midday sun, men work in silence with slow gestures. It’s exciting to raise their house right here, at this altitude, at the head of all winds, two hours away from climbing / descending the mountain to the nearest human settlement. There is something mythical about these first gestures and I admire them for their difficult work, because winter will come soon and they will have to give up work for a while, and who knows when they will finish the construction. The older woman takes the axe and descends through the rocks, where it returns with an arm of dried bamboo stalks that it begins to split with a knife, gently hitting it with the axe’s edge. From the marrow of the stalks removed, rubbing with his finger, some fleshy worms that he gathers in a bag: in the evening they will eat fried on the board between two boulders under which the girl just ignites the fire. He soon joins his mother-in-law in search of hidden worms in the bamboo spine. Earlier she had breastfed a little girl of only two months, who now sleeps in a blanket, in the shade, under a pulpit where a donkey rests. “(Pp. 95-96)
Seventh stop: The Himalayas
Marius Chivu – Three weeks in the Himalayas. Published by Humanitas
Marius Chivu’s first travel diary – Three weeks in the Himalayas, started as a race with himself, as a boyish adventure, but which proved to be a liberating road with little revelations. Through a realistic, captivating and sometimes educational narrative, Three Weeks in the Himalayas is more than just a travel diary and is worth reading even for those who are not fans of the genre.
Travelling constantly without the intention of getting somewhere. As a lifestyle (…) To seek, to find a story, to tell one, to eat here, to sleep beyond, always from something to something else, and the road itself to be a changing destination, not to have a place of your own , to own and to belong to, not to have debts and responsibilities, not to get stuck in promises, not to be bound by anything outside your own unavailability to attach yourself to something destined to change, to be catastrophes, to disappear; to be the one who controls the change, to be in this perpetual passage and arrival, always to everything, the mobile passenger of the world, always somewhere else, sometime, someone else for those who will not see you, will not make you theirs, always foreign, new, interesting and indifferent, so inexhaustible and desirable, always fresh, despite the age, nobody (re) knows you, only you to meet everyone …
I am also amused by the words that, sometimes we discover, exist in the same form, meaning, of course, something else entirely. Rajeeb asked us, at one point, if Mutu means something in Romanian because in Nepali it means ‘heart’. Rishi told me one day when they were drinking beer together, that ‘luck’ in Nepali means ‘hell’.
Eighth stop: Romania and Scotland
Ioan-Florin Florescu- Scottish Journal. Polirom Publishing House
I ended this journey with the journal of the priest Ioan-Florin Florescu. The journal is a selection of texts from the blog that Ioan-Florin Florescu – scientific researcher and coordinator of the Romanian edition of Septuagint – has been keeping for several years. He is a missionary priest in Edinburgh, where he went through different jobs: postman, delivery boy, etc.
Although not a travel journal, you find scenes and experiences that are so well written and intimate that they are worth reading.
As the author himself rightly says, the Scottish Journal is a journal written in Scotland with a view to Romania.
In the editorial at Polirom, I see myself with my former colleagues. We hug, laugh, tell. I haven’t seen them in ten years. At one point a bright, elegant boy enters. We shake hands and he says to me laughing: me mu áptu. It takes me a few seconds to remember that this is how my text about Maria Magdalena begins: “Don’t touch me”. After he leaves, I look anxiously at my colleagues. Don’t you remember him? He works in accounting.
My Scottish journal appeared today at Polirom Publishing House. I never wrote on the blog with the thought that one day I would gather the texts in a book, but in the end, I liked the idea and accepted the invitation of the publisher. A book, unlike the blog, is simply a beautiful object, which you enjoy seeing at home or taking a selfie with it.
Article Photography: Chris Lawton on Unsplash