“Don’t try following my lead, for my trails have already been burnt.”
It is rare that you find a book with its writer’s personality so clearly injected in every page. In just the first few pages, it already felt like I’d met Marco myself. The Travels of Marco YOLO is a travelogue but unlike the typical kind you find in most travel literature.
First, can we take a moment to appreciate the title of this book? Marco freaking YOLO – that has made me L-legitimately-OL too many times since I first got this book in my hands several weeks ago. A millennial joke – and a slightly dated one at that – yes, but I appreciate a good pun any day of the year.
Described as fiction, I spent days trying to differentiate between Marco YOLO and Marco Ferrarese but I could never draw a solid line between them as I could never figure out where one ended and the other began. Ferrarese draws inspiration from his own travels and it was only two-thirds into the first essay – around the time Death appeared playing bluegrass on a banjo – that I realized that this was not an entirely literal register of his travels. It bothered me more than I was capable of understanding, not being able to discern a distinction. So then I made the hardest decision a Scorpio like myself could ever make and decided to let go, let Marco take me where he saw fit. This wasn’t my world, after all. This was Marco’s.
Whatever the case, Ferrarese and YOLO do have a few things in common – the main one being their love of travel. Marco speaks of places as if they were lovers, with such attention to detail and respect for culture.
“It tastes as fresh as the air.”
The subtle introspection detectable in his observations of foreign lands and people show a true awareness and acknowledgment of the self. Not to mention the depth of knowledge he attains from every place he’s been – his depth of knowledge regarding histories of my own homeland has put me in a position of inferiority.
Marco YOLO’s got me questioning myself, man. Marco YOLO is YOLO-ing so hard that he’s got me wanting to YOLO too. Marco YOLO’s got me contemplating life and how I choose to live it. I can’t say very much about travel literature but I also can’t say any other travelogue has ever affected me the same.
The Travels of Marco YOLO by Marco Ferrarese is available at Gerak Budaya, RM28.