This happened across my internet-desk this morning and I stopped everything to read it. The poet Donald Hall wrote a beautiful and very poignant essay "One Road" about a journey he took post WWII with his very young bride driving from Oxford to Greece, by way of Yugoslavia. It is one of those effortless pieces of writing, that immediately draws you in and holds you captive to the end of the journey. It conveys the desire (and fearlessness) of the young to travel as a form of self discovery. It is also a detailed travelogue of a world now much changed, and a graceful reflection on a life that is only possible from a great distance (Hall is now 84). Take a moment and enjoy.
"In December of 1952 my first wife, Kirby, and I left Vienna to drive through the Russian sector of Austria into Yugoslavia. At the border crossing, on a two-lane macadam road with no other car in sight, we stopped to present documents that permitted us to enter Marshal Tito’s country. Walking back to our car afterward, we met a man heading in the opposite direction, toward Austria. He had emerged from a big black car, and he looked important, like a diplomat or a capo. Seeing the initials of national origin on our small Morris convertible, he addressed us in English. I held in my hand our confusing travel directions. We asked the man if Zagreb was straight ahead.
He shrugged, and told us, “There is only one road in Yugoslavia.”