Traveling with a companion, with a wife, with a girlfriend, always seems to me like birds in a glass dome, those Victorian glass things with stuffed birds inside. You are too much of a self-contained world for the rest of the world to be able to penetrate. You’ve got to go kind of naked into the world and make yourself vulnerable to it, in a way that you’re never going to be sufficiently vulnerable if you’re traveling with your nearest and dearest on you arm. You’re never going to see anything; you’re never going to meet anybody; you’re never going to hear anything. Nothing is going to happen to you.
Jonathan Raban in A Sense of Place
Once I was making a list of all the places I had lived in, having moved about so much, I soon concluded that the common sense or factual approach leads to nothing but error. You may live in a place for months, even years, and it does not touch you, but a weekend or a night in another, and you feel as if your whole being has been sprayed with an equivalent of a cosmic wind.
Under My Skin by Doris Lessing