The journey is universally recognized as a narrative in our culture. The narrative potential of travel lies in the fact that we recognize in it temporal and spatial structures that call for narration. The different stages of travel—departure, voyage, encounters on the road, and return—provide any story with a temporal structure that raises certain expectations of things to happen. Perhaps because of this pervasiveness of the travel narrative, we have come to understand personal life and mental development as a voyage. The travel metaphor is therefore not only a way to think about narrative; it also provides one with the means to think through narrative.
The question of the relation between travel and narrative is indeed large and complex. Here I will work from a narrower conception of narrative as travel (or as travel writing) so as to investigate the motivation behind the metaphor and to focus specifically on the question of the relation between narrative consecutiveness and consequence. I will develop the ideas of consecutiveness and consequence around two specific generic features and expectations of travel narratives. On the one hand, travel experience and travel writing presuppose the sense of a consecution of places, and events happening in particular places. The travel concept, and especially the journey plot pattern, manifests a specific model of temporality and causality—travel entails the arrangement of points of actuality in temporal order. On the other hand, the notion of travel is prone to give identity and narrativity to a series of events since it “humanizes” the experience of time and space. A travel story is dependent on the projection and experience of a world from a particular perspective, a person or a group of people moving through space in a given time, enabling thus the treatment of space as a stage for possible narrative action. Narrative progress, therefore, is intimately related to, even if does not always equal, the representation of the traveler’s experience of space and time.
My analysis has three goals: (1) to highlight the significance and some of the limitations of the metaphor of travel in narrative theory and textual analysis; (2) to rethink some of the identifying traits and expectations of travel writing through concepts of temporality, causality, and narrative experientiality as they are developed in narrative theory; (3) to extend cognitive-linguistic research on metaphors into the specifics of narrative form, specifically the issue of the relation between consecutiveness and consequence in travel narratives. In order to illustrate these theoretical points, I will toward the end of the essay offer an analysis of Graham Greene’s travel narrative Journey Without Maps (1936). Greene’s narrative is particularly pertinent to the questions raised here since it foregrounds the relationship between consecutiveness and consequence by…”