My most famous quote talks about a woman who is a “Wanderess” :
“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.”
The composition of the quote was simple. I’d decided to write a book about a young woman whom I called the “wanderess.” I named her “Saskia” and imagined her life and her position in life and the kind of character and personality that her unique position would give her. She is a European who grew up in various countries, being transplanted by circumstances—so travel comes naturally to her. She has no more family left, despite the fact that she is very young; and she has no real friends, so there is no reason for her to settle in one city or country rather than any another. She earns a kind of pension, which—although she is not rich by any means—allows her to eat and live without being rooted to one spot, to one geographical location, where she would have to work a regular job.
I tried to imagine the life of such a person—which was easy, since in my line of work, I also am not dependent on one geographical location. I tried to imagine someone with, quote, “no reason to be anywhere.” …No family to keep her in one country, no friends to keep her in another; she has no real entrepreneurial ambitions so she has no reason to choose a destination based on a particular university she wishes to attend or a field of expertise that a city offers. Thus, she is free (or condemned) to drift and drift, while searching for reason. What separates her from members of the idle rich class who have no reason to remain fixed in any one spot is that, as mentioned, she has no business interests tied into any location; and she doesn’t have idle companions that the rich so often do, whose caprices guide their friends to follow them from city to city, from festival to casino to tournament. Saskia is, as I write elsewhere in the book, “not an adventuress, but a wanderess.” It is in that phrase that we understand why she “has no reason to be anywhere.”
And so, while writing a 334-page book about her, I had many opportunities to describe her character. Many of my descriptions didn’t particularly stand-out for any reason. Yet for some reason, these 24 words I wrote about her (in the quote above) profoundly resonated with people around the world and became a part of popular culture when everyone from pop musicians to clothing and product designers adopted the words to make the message their own.
— Roman Payne, May 2017 (on writing The Wanderess)
New Wanderess Literary Tour & Writers’ Workshop Launches in the Mediterranean
Head to Croatia this summer to live the life of a wanderer or wanderess and create your own story in the process. For a few select weeks this summer, a maximum of six passengers (per week) are invited to spend seven days with Roman Payne, the author of “The Wanderess,” exploring the Adriatic Sea aboard the luxury sailing yacht, “Gold One.”
Fans of “The Wanderess” will enjoy literary discussions with its author, while writers of all levels will receive expert guidance to help them advance on their own manuscripts. “It is a sailing adventure meant to inspire and set your creativity free,” says Payne, “and by the end of the week, I will make sure you are on your way towards finishing your novel!”
His novel, “The Wanderess,” is highly-praised for its exceptional literary quality. It has influenced everything from pop music in America, to film in England, to Bollywood and Fashion Week in India. Payne’s poetry is considered first-class and has inspired thousands (people around the world even tattoo his words on their bodies!)
The Roman Payne literary cruise dispatches from the Croatian city of Split, and offers some of the best sailing in the world (Croatia is home to over 1,000 islands!). Passengers also visit Italy on the tour.
For those who love wining and dining in addition to literature, Wanderess Tours offer something doubly-delightful: the best quality natural foods and exotic delicacies (truffles, saffron, gourmet cheeses), together with the inexpensive cost of buying direct from the farmer at the village market. Each port city that you stop at, the Gold One drops anchor and you’ll have the pleasure of exploring city sights, shopping, and buying the freshest ingredients for your daily meals which you may prepare yourself on board in the yacht’s gourmet kitchen. If spectacular wines help your creativity and inspiration, you are in luck: Croatia, the birthplace of Zinfandel, has some of the best wines on earth. Sample some aboard to add festivity to your literary adventure.
Other activities besides the literary discussions and writers’ workshops include sunbathing, swimming, and kite surfing. There are double cabins available. The cost is 1,300€ per person. To book a week’s Wanderess Tour, please send an email to email@example.com.
Tours are organized in part by Travel Writers’ Network.
Le Papillon de Vingt-Quatre Heures
By Roman Payne
Ô, Muse of the Heart’s Passion,
let me relive my Love’s memory,
to remember her body, so brave and so free.
and the sound of my Wanderess singing to me,
and the scent of my Wanderess sleeping by me,
Ô, sing, sweet Muse, my soliloquy!
WHEN I TOUCHED HER BODY, I believed she was God. In the curves of her form I found the birth of Man, the creation of the world, and the origin of all life.
She was Woman and I was Man; and our bodies lay naked on the bed, panting like two beaten and worn animals after a battle. Our passionate combat had lasted for two beautiful days and nights in that wasted bedroom of hers on the rue de Turbigo in Paris. During forty hours we made love, ceasing only momentarily to drink the necessary water and eat when our bodies required it; as our sexual battle exhausted our fuel supplies and our organs needed to be replenished to continue their feast.
It was still dark when we finished. Four o’clock at the end of a night in spring, and Mademoiselle d’Odessa and I finally surrendered to the fatigue of our flesh; and feeling comfort in our nourished sexual appetites, we lay entwined to let sweet sleep overtake us. As we lay, we caressed each other languidly on the bed: thighs and limbs, taught abdomens, my hard chest, her soft breasts. She said, “Look…” and pointed from her petite “lit de jeune fille,” across her bedroom to where a moth was flying upwards and bouncing off the yellow plaster.
“Un papillon de vingt-quatre heures,” she told me.
I had never heard of a twenty-four-hour moth before and I asked her about it. She said she once read a curious book about moths and butterflies and explained to me with great certainty that the species of moth on her wall had a lifespan of exactly twenty-four hours—that it had been born to her house for only one day and one night, so as to fly and to reproduce before dying. She went on to talk of this moth and I was thoroughly enchanted. I stroked her wonderful tummy as I watched that curious twenty-four hour moth; and what I did above all was to admire the luck of that creature.
“Why is it lucky?!” she asked, pounding me on the chest.
“Because,” I told her, “billions of its kind are born every season to live out their short lives in an empty basement or attic somewhere, down in the métro, or in a bank, or a ceramic factory or in a preschool. But this lucky devil has lived every moment of its life in the aura of our naked bodies… two passionate human beings making love.”
She kissed me. “I adore you.”
“I mean, can you imagine a creature who spends his entire life watching pornography?!”
I laughed through my nose at what I’d just said, but she just frowned and slapped my cheek. She then rolled over and went to sleep, the funny girl. I was so enlivened and inspired by our two days of lovemaking, however, that I thought of sleep as a great waste of time at that moment. I had to write! For writing is the only way to come down euphorically from love-making of such splendour and grandeur.
(If you want to read more, write to the author by clicking here)
 Ô, MUSE […] MY SOLILOQUY: As Payne is so greatly inspired by Homer, he begins this book, like some of his other books and stories, with a “Proem.” A proem contains the introductory lines of a Homeric epic where the writer invokes the Muse to ask for the inspiration to write the epic. The mortal writer then reciprocates payment to the Muse in return for this inspiration by giving all credit to the Muse for having (literally) written the book for him or her. In the Iliad, the first line reads: ‘Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles.’ In the Odyssey, Homer writes: ‘Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of the man.’ Likewise, Payne’s first line, ‘Ô, sing me, sweet Muse, my soliloquy’ implies that his soliloquy [this novel] was conceived not by him, but by his Muse. [Editor]
 LIT DE JEUNE FILLE: (fr) ‘Young girl’s bed.’ The childhood bed of a women that is often preserved in its juvenile form in her parent’s house after she is grown.
 UN PAPILLON DE VINGT-QUATRES HEURES: (fr) ‘A 24-hour butterfly’ is the literal translation. This is a play on the term ‘papillon de nuit’ (‘butterfly of the night,’ which is a moth. It is interesting (and disturbing) how living things are degraded when we add the suffix ‘of the night.’ A butterfly becomes a moth. And while a ‘girl’ is valuable. A ‘girl of the night’ is shameful. Why is it so dishonorable to be nocturnal? Cannot some prefer the moon to the sun? [Payne]