Image: Wikimedia Commons

Recently I was on the northern Queensland coast of Australia, in an Aboriginal reserve. In the most unlikely spot I encountered a beachcomber, who had been living there for several years. He was looking for floats and bottles, building a raft that would take him around the top of Cape York in one of the most dangerous channels in the world for current and wind — the Torres Straits. I asked him if he knew the risks.

‘I’m not bothered,’ he said. ‘You can go anywhere, you can do just about anything, if you’re not in a hurry.’

That is one of the sanest statements I have ever heard in my life.

— Paul Theroux, Fresh Air Fiend: Travel Writings, 2001