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2.3.08: What is the difference between Skimming and Traveling?

[Pam Korda, John Novak]

Skimming requires knowledge of destination and Traveling requires knowledge of origin [TFOH: 6, Gateways, 121]. For example, Aviendha Travels to Seanchan which she obviously doesn't know a thing about, but she knew the bathroom real well.

Skimming is what Rand does in [TSR: 58, The Traps of Rhuidean, 670-671] to chase Asmodean to Rhuidean, and in [TFOH: 54, To Caemlyn, 645-646] to bring the Aiel strike force to Caemlyn. It apparently works by creating a tunnel through some other space from the point you are at to the point where you want to go. Going through this tunnel takes a finite amount of time, and one person can chase another through it, as Rand chased Asmodean. Egwene learns from Moggy that Skimming (as opposed to Travelling) is "a way to journey from a place you did not know well to one you did." [ACOS: 9, A Pair of Silverpike, 175]. The above "chasing" thing contradicts something Egwene says about it in [ACOS: 12, A Morning of Victory, 241]: "If two sisters wove gateways on the same spot only moments apart, aiming to Skim to the same place, they would not see one another, not unless it was exactly the same spot, with the weaves exactly identical." So, either this is a difference between men's Skimming and women's, or Rand managed to exactly duplicate Asmo's weave, or RJ messed up. The Skimming place has some similarity to TAR, and may be a part of TAR. [ACOS: 12, A Morning of Victory, 240].

Traveling is a far simpler, far more direct, far quicker means of transport. Traveling opens a "gate" from one physical point to another. Men do this by boring a hole in the Pattern, so to speak, while women do this by making the Pattern in both locations identical [LOC, 37, When Battle Begins, 491]. Moghedien and Rand are of the opinion that using the wrong method would be catastrophically bad. Stepping through the gate, one instantly changes location. Asmodean tells Rand that, unlike Skimming, Traveling requires only knowledge of the starting point [TFOH: 6, Gateways, 121].

Now, it's been suggested that what the 3rd Age Randlanders call "Traveling" is not the same thing as the old-time, AOL Traveling. The only evidence to support this theory is the manner in which Ish manifests himself in the TEOTW prologue. He kind of shimmered and appeared--no mention of a "gate" or a doorway. We've not seen anybody else do this, though; all of the other Forsaken use the standard Gate method.

It is possible to do a Traveling-like thing with the TP, by "stepping outside the Pattern," as the Watcher (a.k.a. Ishy) does in [ACOS: 20, Patterns Within Patterns, 358]. At a Brisbane signing in 1999, RJ confirmed that Ishy's strange Gateway in the TEOTW Prologue is due to his use of the TP [report by William Carew].

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The Wheel of Time FAQ. Copyright 2004 by Leigh Butler, Pamela Korda and Erica Sadun. HTML implementation by Leigh Butler. This site maintained by Pam Korda (pam@linuxmafia.com). Comments and questions regarding the content itself should be directed to Leigh Butler (leighdb@pacbell.net).