Pantar Island. Alor, Indonesia. July 2012.

Needing islands

  Between Two Journeys

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

If, like me, you like islands, from here or elsewhere, dive into this book: Needing islands, by the geographer Louis Brigand. The man is a scientist, but it is in passion, in love, that he speaks of the islands he has visited as part of his research.

Starting with the Breton islands, and that of Beniguet in particular, in the Molène archipelago. I invite you to read this report that my colleague Marc Pennec devoted to him in Ouest-France. Enough to fill up with invigorating marine freshness!

Need Islands, by Louis Brigand, Stock Editions.Needing islands
Stock editions
252 pages, 18 €

Louis Brigand is a professor atEuropean Institute of the Sea, in Brest, at the University of Western Brittany (UBO). He is one of the leading specialists in island issues. His job as a teacher-researcher leads him to travel from one end of the planet to the other, from island to island... Another "dream job" for globetrotters?

No Asian islands in the memories mentioned in his book. But he has very right words to say that irresistible attraction that the islands exert on our imagination (remember Treasure Island by Stevenson!), to talk about the beauty of insularity, about the happiness that consists in letting the days go by looking at the sea... Small excerpt:

Finally, I prefer to move regularly from one island to another, and thus be itinerant and nomadic, rather than fixed and sedentary. As a result, I have the impression to have elected in an immense archipelago, to travel permanently from one house to another, and to share my life between spaces that come together, forming a whole in which I draws energy and a certain resourcing. (P.67)

I do not feel anything else, the idea of going back, very soon, for distant archipelagos. The Perhentian Islands, then Borneo, Sipadan and Mabul, Derawan and Sangalaki ...

I'm going there in a tourist context, for a holiday, and I won't be in a situation of complete isolation, far from it. But I like being surrounded by water, having no other border around me than the sea. Contemplating the horizon clears my head. A lot of people feel locked up, a bit trapped, on an island. For me it's the opposite: staying on an island frees me, soothes me. I'll leave the floor to Louis Brigand:

Maybe that's what happiness is all about! An island.
I think isolation is something that goes on in your head. There are millions of guys living in dramatic isolation, in their apartment or in the city, in front of their TV or electronic games! I may be isolated geographically, but not at all mentally. On the contrary, the island with its closed borders is a mirror that reflects deeply and amplifies the things of life. (P.14)

Oh, my God! This book is just in time. I am in great need of islands.


  Between Two Journeys

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  1. Ici un parisien insulaire dans l’âme, à sec de son île depuis 30 ans et qui va la revoir dans 1, 2, 3, 4,… 27 jours… je verserai certainement une larme quand le 25 juillet, je foulerai à nouveau le sol de l’aéroport de Bauerfield à Port Vila. Je demanderai alors au taxi « Yu fala save tekem mi long ples ia… ».. Plus besoin de dico de bahasa 😉 … les mots en bislama du Vanuatu sortiront tout seuls, d’un silence de 30 ans.

    Insularity an isolation? But not at all, insularity is the taste of discovery, uncertainty ... it is the condition that teaches you to look beyond the horizon and ask in which direction there is another island similar or different, ... the islander is sure there is another, he scrutinizes the sky while the continental thinks to be the center of the world, it moves the earth ... the island is moving while the continental is certainty ... how to be sure of anything, when three cyclones a year sweep the bad structures like received ideas.

    A condition usually implies its opposite or complementary: the first reflex of the traveler is that of finding out how to get out of the place where we have just arrived, that of the islander is to know what is the wind that will allow s' escape or return to his island.

    Well, since we are talking about literature, beyond the islands, I have also "Need mirages" like Gilles Lapouge, writer also known for his work on pirates, other intrepid travelers.

    And then another essential work to re-enchant the small and large contingencies of the trip, on the basis of our illustrious traveler predecessors (Flaubert or Baudelaire) there is Alain de Botton with his "Art of travel".

    Good readings and especially selamat jalan 8).

    il va falloir que tu ouvres un section littérature où tes lecteurs mettraient chacun leur bouquin de voyage de chevet (personnellement une armoire 😆 )

  2. @ Wet & sea / Ludovic: Superb, your reflection of Parisian island ... And thank you for the reading tips. It's a good idea, that collection of suggestions books of each other. Should everyone do as you, and enrich his contributions this section "Books and readings".

    Go, more than three small weeks of nothing to wait, before seeing your island again !!!