The Art of Travel
I’m always in search of a good book to read, either when I’m traveling or when I’m looking for inspiration to travel. I often gravitate towards travel-related books written by travel writers, ones that explore travel through their experiences, telling you what they saw and did. I was, however, in search of a travel book that looked at travel from the perspective of how and why we travel. That search led me to The Art of Travel by Alain de Bottom per the recommendation of Nomadic Matt, a well-known travel blogger.
The Art of Travel explores travel from the perspective of anticipation, allure, and the value of the little things while traveling. The book is broken into several sections that breakdown the emotions of travel from the departure, the period before we travel and all that influences our expectations of the destination, to motives for travel, the reasons why we travel, and finally the return, and how the journey impacts us as we return to our lives. This all-encompassing exploration of travel will leave you thinking about your next trip in ways you’d never thought.
In each chapter, de Bottom discusses the topic as it relates to personal experiences as well as the experiences of famous writers including J. K. Huysmans, Charles Baudelaire, and Gustave Flaubert. Perhaps the greatest stories of all are Alexander von Humboldt‘s epic five-year journey around South America from 1799 to 1804 and Xavier de Maistre’s journey around his bedroom.
If you are looking for something beyond the tried and tested travel story of someone else’s adventure, and want to explore our motivations for travel, then The Art of Travel is for you.
Well worth a read.