Friday, July 23, 2010

Review: The Art of Travel

The audio version of The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton and I did not get off to a good start. I went into the book having no expectations, and found myself instantly confused.

There were chapters, sections and subsections. There was a modern day story intertwined with that of a historic figure from the 1800's. To make matters worse, the book opens with a depressing discussion about how the act of travel is often a disappointment compared to the anticipation and memory stages of travel.

What the heck. I was disoriented and wondering where this was all going.

Thankfully, I stuck with it. After about 4 stories it finally hit me what was actually going on. de Botton was picking a general aspect of travel (Beauty - Art - Discovery - Nature), a historic figure and a trip he had taken, and then connecting all three of these things. It's actually quite brilliant.

With the model understood, I could sit back and enjoy. I ended up learning not only about interesting historic figures, but about how the author could use their example to find more meaning in his own travel adventures.

More importantly, he's inspired me to try to do the same and given me some tools to do so.

For a book that stared off as a disaster, it sure turned out to be a winner.

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