SAMSARA – Journey to the East

WHAT day is it today? I wonder to myself, looking through the window of the dessert shop at Connaught Place.

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SAMSARA – Journey to the East

The journey to the East has always been thought of as the ultimate journey, either in the sense of a true adventure and researching different places and cultures, or in the spiritual sense, as seeking answers to the essential questions. In the European literature, this journey is, rightfully so, described as the path to (self-)discovery. This idea, over the backdrop of the desire for personal freedom and the shifting of boundaries, has been embodied various times by different types of travellers. Since the mid-20th century, they came and went, one group after another: beatniks and hippies, freaks and overlanders, and finally backpackers and 'independent' travellers. There are traces of this in the contemporary global travel literature, and in the Croatian as well; however, those titles that have lived beyond their time have, as a rule, been penned by authors with a strong travel personality, whose experience of the journey and of the East have surpassed the generational fascination, unexhausted by a cloud of marihuana in Kathmandu or time spent in an Indian ashram.

Among the travel writers of the past, when such journeys were more a subculture than a discipline of the consumer society, there have always been those that travel not to see the world, but to learn something of themselves, or to shape themselves into the people they would like to be.

Though Samsara is a novel about a journey to the East, it is the novel of a travel writer. The hero’s experiences have real silhouettes, even when they are a figment of the imagination. The experiences intertwined with authentic descriptions of places and regions which the author himself passed through on this eternal route of the traders and spiritual searchers: from Istanbul and Turkey, through Iran and Pakistan, to the holy cities of India, where the story culminates or – stated in the vocabulary of the travel writer – the hero’s external and internal journey (wandering, in fact) receives its final form. The thread that leads the “lost man” to the end, to the final knowledge of life and death – samsara, appears already after the first steps, at the threshold of the East, in Sarajevo…