Our newest feature article, on Fernando Pessoa, not only made me want to take off for Lisbon, but it also reawakened a train of thought I had shelved since returning from Europe. I’ve often wondered if people can be broken up into two groups: the travelers and the nesters. Some people seem best suited to home life. They know how to enjoy the small pleasures, the ordinary moments of happiness. They are the reliable ones, settled and stable. Their lives may not always be happy, but they have a constant – they have a home. Even when they travel abroad, they are able to experience the seductive lure of a foreign land without being pulled or swayed from their moorings. Nesters seem to be driven always by an internal compass, one which points towards home.
The other group, the travelers, are restless and without anchor (it seems our writer, Steven Hermans, may fit into this category). They relentlessly seek new places, experiences, tastes, and people. They desire motion, continual excitement, rather than the comforts of home.
I believe most of us have fit into both groups at some point in our lives, for these categories aren’t hard and fast. They’re probably best viewed as phases we slip into at certain points, only to later change allegiance. In his discussion of Pessoa, Hermans describes the author as of the former group, while he himself falls into the latter. In an interesting twist, he journeys to Pessoa’s home in order to see how the other half (the nesters) live. Walking along the eerily familiar streets, painted so vividly by Pessoa’s prose, Hermans is able to see the attractions of a room of one’s own – and compare that with the lure of the open road.
This week, we invite homebodies and wanders alike to join us this week in Portugal in Fernando Pessoa’s Lisbon of Disquiet. Perhaps you will recognize something of yourself in Hermans, or perhaps you’re more like Pessoa. Either way, we promise you’ll leave with some food for thought.