For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.
I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.
— Robert Louis Stevenson’s, Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes (1878).
I have just bought a copy of this book. Clearly old, though undated, it has a story of it’s own. Glued to the inside of the front cover, it is a hard back, is a label telling me it is from ‘South Wilts Grammar School for Girls Salisbury’. It was first loaned out in September 1949, though the book appears not to have been popular with the girls. The next loan was nearly five years later in January 1954. A further three years then pass by, before a girl was interested enough to borrow it. The fourth and final loan was then eight years later, in March 1965. After which it appears to have found a new home, and the word ‘Cancelled’ is written across the the school seal. It is then over a decade until someone thought enough of the book to claim it with a signature and the date: ‘26/6/78′.
Then silence. For the next thirty six years, the little book’s travels go unrecorded. Until ’12/14 50p’ appears on the top of the page. It has arrived in a second hand book store run by the National Trust. Seemingly no more popular now than in the fifties, lower down the page it now says ’25p’ with the date ‘1/16’. The book was a pioneering piece of outdoor literature; it even describes the first modern sleeping bag. And so, for twenty five pence, it is now mine, and I have unashamedly claimed it. ‘NoelG March 2016’.
Image of a part of the Cévennes that Stevenson passed through, or nearby: Ve panoramique de la ” Vallée française” entre Saint-Jean-du-Gard et Florac. By Henri MOREAU (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons