C.H.R. – I was telling myself: how can a man like Mircea Eliade experience the diversity of idioms, cultures, fatherlands, abodes, countries? I begin to understand this now and yet would like to ask you how fatherland and the world interrelate in your inner self?M.E. – For any exile, fatherland signifies the mother tongue that he or she continues speaking. Fortunately, my wife is Romanian and plays the role of the homeland, if you will, as we speak to each other in Romanian. Therefore, to me 'fatherland' is the language I speak with her and my friends, primarily, with her. It is the language in which I dream and write my journal. Thus, it is not only an inner, dream-related land. Nevertheless, there is no contradiction, not even a tension, between world and homeland. Everywhere, there is a Center of the World. Once one finds oneself in this center, one is home, one is truly in one's very self and in the center of the cosmos. Exile helps one understand that the world is never unfamiliar, once one has identified a center in it. This "center symbolism" is something I do not only understand, but I also live by it.-You have traveled extensively, but I can sense you are not a traveler by vocation.-It may well be that my most important journeys would have been those on Shank's mare, between the ages of 12 and 19, during summertime. They lasted several weeks successively, and I used to live in the village or in a monastery. Then, I was driven by the urge to get away from the Bucharest plain and explore the Carpathians, the Danube, fishermen's villages in the Delta, the Black Sea … I know my country very well.-The last page of Fragments d'un journal is devoted to traveling. You mention there: "The fascination of a travel does not exclusively pertain to spaces, forms and colors – to the places one goes and roves through – but to the number of personal "time occurrences" one reenacts. The more I advance in life, the more I get the impression that those travels take place simultaneously in time and space."-Indeed, in visiting Venice, for instance, I re-live the times of my first travels there… One can find one's entire past in a space: a street, a church, a tree… Then, all of a sudden, time is revisited. This is one of the facets which render this journey so fertile to oneself, to one's own experience. One rediscovers oneself, in dialoguing with the person one was fifteen or twenty years ago. One encounters this character, oneself, one's own time, the historical instance twenty years past. 

Excerpted from: The Test of the Labyrinth (Dialogues with Claude-Henri Rocquet), Dacia, 1990

by Mircea Eliade (1907-1986)