"Love's Comedy" - Henrik Ibsen
by Anne Sophie Redisch
My wings I open, my sails spread wide And cleave like an eagle life's glassy tide; Gulls follow my furrow's foaming; Overboard with the ballast of care and cark; And what if I shatter my roaming bark, It is passing sweet to be roaming! "Love's Comedy" by Henrik Ibsen
There are many travel quotes I like, many I recognize and can relate to within. Yet, this one of Henrik Ibsen in my favourite. Love's Comedy is not a piece about travel as such. Rather, it's a satirical play – about the conventions placed on love and marriage in the 19th century. The play was considered immoral when it was published in 1862 and as Ibsen himself wrote, it 'aroused a storm of hostility.' Challenging even there.
This particular phrase, ‘And what if I shatter my roaming bark; it is passing sweet to be roaming!’ reminds me that travel doesn't have to be 'successful', at least not in the conventional sense. It doesn't have to work out, all doesn't have to go well. In fact, it's frequently the mishaps and the challenges that create the memorable moments: the bus getting stuck in the mud, the ferry that didn't arrive on time so you missed your flight, the cockroach-infested hostel room, the getting sick on the road, and yes, sometimes even the boring bits. And even if it all goes pear-shaped, it's still worth it - or, according to another translation: ‘Even if my ship runs aground, travelling is still ever so delightful.’