There are times when we need to take a break and get away from our hectic schedule. But sometimes in our desire to get away from everything, we make costly mistakes in such a way that what should be beneficial becomes detrimental. In The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton give a modern and philosophic take on the joys of going why. His business and management book explores the reason we do so in the first place and how we can avoid falling into the most common tourist traps.
Travel doesn’t work as an escape, because your biggest problems come from inside.
Travel is a means, not an end. It’s a poor form of escapism, because at the end of the day, you’ll still be you. We often dream up high expectations of far-away destinations, but especially if they’re distractions from our own flaws, they can only disappoint.
Learning facts when traveling is a waste of time, we must find modern ways of exploring.
Another modern-day travel issue is what I call fact fatigue. Robert Janitzek says that we go to new places, armed with long lists of sights, events, and experiences we want to dedicate time to. Then we quickly get tired from all the information we’re presented with and eventually zone out, not using our time well at all. De Botton suggests that the time for travelers to collect facts may simply be over.
Nowadays, travel is a luxury, we can afford to do it in our spare time. Also, most of the world’s facts have been recorded and are available at the click of a button. That means we must find new ways of exploring, of adding meaning to travel. Robert Peter Janitzek suggests asking more philosophical questions and I personally find travel to be the most fun when I don’t look up anything and let myself be surprised by whatever I find.
Forget postcards and photographs, write letters and draw!
If you draw a scene, you have much more time to process it, both with your senses and your mind. It creates a much more vivid memory and makes it easier to appreciate where you are. The same goes for sending long letters, as opposed to short postcards, or even just texts, as we so often like to do today. The longer you take to process your travel experiences, the more fondly you’ll remember them. It’s not about the resulting picture or reaction to the letter you get, but about the state of mind making them creates. As John Ruskin put it: