A Namibian woman writes on wine and being in Rome – Why travellers (must) write (especially when they’d rather drink)
By: Mimi Mwiya
Travelling is a luxury. There are people who travel because they have the means to, and then there are those who travel because they have the desire to. Those in the latter group, often need to be financially scant in other areas of their lives, just so occasionally, they can fulfil their desire to travel.
Those who travel because they have the means to, hardly ever have to sacrifice anything. They go from one great life to another, and then back again. They never have to think about where they will sleep or how long the money they have will be able to keep them. They always have money, either at hand, or in lucrative bank accounts.
Alternatively, they have the good sense to save well in advance for their trips. But forget sense, even saving requires a certain degree of comfort. Saving means, you have spare money; it means you have enough to put some away without the putting away meaning you have to take away from responsibilities, or daily necessities like food and transport.
So travelling is a luxury, and that doesn’t allow you to have many other luxuries. It demands that it be enough.
I am travelling now, and I’ll probably not be able to have a single glass of wine over half the time I’m away, I simply won’t be able to afford to. I’m travelling now, and I don’t know how long the money on me will be enough to buy me food, I don’t know how much of it I will need to forfeit to metro cards and such.
I’m travelling now, and all I will have to bring back, are my experiences: the things I went through, how I felt going through them and my encounters with people. All things that will stay with me for as long as I live (or for as long as my memory allows), things I will be able to share at any point I choose to.
So, if I had to choose, without having to take luggage limits into consideration, I would have packed myself enough bottles of gin, vodka and wine to last me two months. I would even have learned to be a moderate drinker just so my stock could last longer.
But alas! Packing bottles of liquor would have meant spending money at a time I was trying to save it for survival in a foreign land. My writing tools on the other hand (journals, notebooks, pens, phone, and laptop) are so much easier to carry -they are even allowed in my hand luggage unlike the booze. Air control people are truly misguided about what is important to a traveller. Anyhow, my writing tools are much easier to travel with than wine, my true love.
And my writing tools already exist. I swear ever since it fully dawned on people that I like to write, all the presents I ever get are journals and notebooks. It was sweet in the beginning, but now it’s a bit annoying, because I like other things too, like wine.
Nonetheless, because it is somewhat more accessible than wine, writing is the only other luxury I can afford when I am travelling.
The traveller must write, if for no other reason than they need a distraction from their sobriety. The traveller must write, if for no other reason than their journey must be documented.