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  • Writer's picturePatrick Mills

Ennui


I was going to call this post apathy, however it made me feel awful (consequently it has taken me ages to write!) - it felt like a disease or perhaps malaise. Chatting to a friend the other day he suggested ennui as a more positive type of apathy, it has a kind of romantic air, ‘an artist with no inspiration living a life in poverty in his Montmartre studio’.



The dictionary says a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement. "He succumbed to ennui and despair”.


I prefer this, but it is not completely how I feel or am. I am nowhere near despair, in fact life is good right now, but there are certain things that I am not ready for, so struggle to get on with it.


Simply put I find it very hard to stir my stumps.


Airports, stations, crowds, shops, the West End of London, motorways or sometimes just going out all make me uneasy to varying degrees.


It is one of the most annoying symptoms.


One stands out:


Flying.


I really don’t understand what there is to like about air travel, except it gets us everywhere quicker (at what cost to our planet?). Passports, tickets, packing, getting to the airport, check in (weirdly even online check in gives me a mild pang of anxiety), sitting around in a packed shopping mall, the gate, the plane, take off - Nightmare.


But I have to beat this one. Hypnotism, hard core drugs? Any ideas would be great. I have to get the travel bug again.


I know I can do it.


About a month ago I was asked to photograph various scenes in Hampstead for a book about to be published. Exciting yet challenging.


I worked hard before hand and planned my day using the path described in London’s hidden walks by Stephen Millar (fab if you like exploring London). I walked around 20km that day and got some great photographs.


Planning was the key and adventure trumped apathy.


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4 Comments


Sarah
Sarah
Aug 14, 2023

Traveling on foot using trains to my destination and back has been a recent discovery. I enjoy the planning too, specially if other people have written about it, either on blogs or books. I’ll still fly if I need to, but going by train has been a great revelation.

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cece.mills
Aug 14, 2023

You are certainly not alone regarding the travelling. Last years experience at Gatwick put me off air travel for ever. My advice, if you have to fly, choose a destination that leaves from Exeter! It is a delightful airport, calm and casual, which takes the edge off the initial horrors. Alternatively, trains! We are going to Cambridge next weekend and I am already in a panic about driving there!! Xx

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essmacdee
Aug 13, 2023

I'm also feeling ennui and apathy these days, and anxiety about travel!

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rob
Aug 13, 2023

I’m with you on the horrors of travelling to the extent that the benefits of travel are not sufficient to entice me to set off and enjoy them. So, sorry, I’ve no ideas for getting the travel bug again! The book sounds interesting and fantastic (but not surprising) that they approached you for the pictures. Look forward to seeing the end result.

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