30 January 2010
Around the World
I'm making some travel plans for later this year and so I have traveling on the brain. Which flight should we take? How many PTO days will I need to use? What will the weather be like? What should I pack? Will my iPhone work in Baja California? Many uncertainties that I'm still working out for my own travel plans - which put me in a welcoming frame of mind to watch Around the World in 80 Days at the KC Repertory Theater tonight, in which life and traveling seems fundamental and simple.
Especially as portrayed with such a minimally appointed set, the journey of Phileas Fogg appeared to me pleasantly plain in its planning - but exciting all the same. Fogg and his valet, Passepartout, packed light, carrying just two carpet bags, some cash, and a little red book called the Bradshaw which lists time tables for ships and trains. With his penchant for mathematical precision, Fogg makes all the arrangements as he goes, never miscalculating, never erring.
Most welcoming of all, Fogg was so unscathed by the uncertainties of planning, the uncertainties of nineteenth century global travel, no less. I love the character of Fogg, so indefatigable, so constantly poised, so firm. When faced with even the most absurd set backs - an unfinished railroad, a warrant for his arrest - Fogg remains unflapped.
And here I am wasting a lot of energy on worrying that three months from now I might forget to bring the battery charger for my camera.
I'm sure the caricature of Fogg is meant to invite derision - I mean who could be so dry and intent as to ignore all the wonders of the world as they pass you by, no matter what kind of deadline you're on? - but I found his detachment sort of appealing. Of course, Passepartout is his foil - in awe of the sites along the way and inevitably getting into a couple of scrapes along the way.
But wouldn't it be nice to traverse even just a tiny little corner of the world with both Fogg's calm and Passepartout's verve? I think so.