Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Art of Travel

Source of picture: the lightlover
"If we find poetry in the service station and the motel, if we are drawn to the airport or the train carriage, it is perhaps because, despite their architectural compromises and discomforts, despite their garish colours and harsh lighting, we implicitly feel that these isolated places offer us a material setting for an alternative to the selfish ease, the habits and confinement of the ordinary, rooted world."
It has been a while since I've posted a book review (all complaints can be directed to my university). I am fond of travel as much as the next travel agent, so it was plausible for me to begin reading this book by Alain De Botton (well known for one of his novels making a guest appearance in the movie, '500 Days of Summer').

Few things in our life bring about an immediate sense of happiness. Luckily, travel is one of the few (albeit sometimes expensive) outlets for us to seek out this feeling. In his book, Alain attempts to outline the reasons why we travel, as well as subtly offering ways in which we can improve our moods while travelling, and deepen our value of our voyages. Written in a poetic manner (a common occurrence with the books I read), he explores a range of reasons why we travel where we do - from the obvious means of curiosity and the exotic, to the niche areas of art, beauty and the sublime.

The only downside I found when reading his essay was its Euro-centric focus on travel. I would have liked to see him explore countries outside the European continents, to exotic places where we might find ourselves extremely our of our comfort zones. Nonetheless, his style of writing is academically brilliant; one of the best essayist I've come across yet, and a definite must for fans of 'philosophical thoughts on life'.

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