The Leaning Tower of Pisa

1972 – 1985

Travel, without the feeling of ever wanting to arrive. To know that every arrival also simultaneously means disappointment, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is not as crooked, the Empire State Building not as tall, and the beach of Ceylon not as white as countless photographs have led us to believe. The Eiffel tower is perceived as a bad copy of the poster one saw at the travel agency before the trip even began. The thought of wanting to admit something – and the reality of the illusion are incriminating. Arriving, and perceiving the exotic as banal, the heat as burdensome and the encountered poverty as obtrusive. Being forced to recognise that a Sea World or Epcot far away in America, with their shows about this world, come very close to our imaginations of our desired travel destinations.

To feel that our world is round, and that every departure always also means an arrival at a place that one really hadn‘t sought. Our dream vacation, as promised by the advertisements, is the dream of a collage of popular happiness. We add together size, pureness, beauty, meaning and culture; the sum is called expectation. Dream travel only takes place at home – the truly reached travel goals make us travellers, however, only mortal.

André Gelpke 1975