But now it seemed to him that present circumstances demanded his full attention and that it was inappropriate to shrug them off. Being lifted like this into regions whose air he had never breathed before and whose sparse and meager conditions were, as well he knew, both unfamiliar and peculiar - it all began to excite him, to fill him with a certain anxiety. Home and a settled life not only lay far behind, but also, and more importantly, they lay fathoms below him, and he was still climbing. Hovering between home and the unknown ahead, he asked himself how he would do up there.
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain pg 4
[The protagonist Hans Castorp's musings as he sits on the train heading up to the mountain retreat in the Swiss Alps where he will visit his cousin and ultimately spend the next seven years. I loved this book not only for the philosophy but also for the superb writing]