Travel

Last updated: 2022, September 20

It is almost a travesty to suggest that we do not know how to travel. Compared to just a century ago, travel has become more accessible, ubiquitous, and affordable. Many people travel for work but even more travel for leisure. Huge industries and economies depend on travel and the offerings have proliferated beyond imagination. There is almost something for everyone, no matter how esoteric or peculiar your interests are.

Yet perhaps as we travel more, we become less adept at travelling. We demand that things turn out the way we want. After all, we paid good money for it. We become the worst versions of the typical consumer when we visit other countries. And we forget why we travel or how to travel, as we struggle to tick off a checklist we’ve painstakingly compiled two months before the trip.

Here are some people who have paused to think about this whole business of travelling.

  1. BOOKS

BOOKS

HOW TO BE A BETTER TOURIST: TIPS FOR A TRULY REWARDING VACATION

Author: Johan Idema

The title of this book comes across as accusatory – is it implying that we are bad tourists? No matter how much of a globetrotter we think we are, we can always become better travellers, and better people. And perhaps that is the point of travelling.


A WEEK AT THE AIRPORT

Author: Alain de Botton

The idea of spending an entire week at the airport, without any prospect of flying anywhere or returning home, can sound terrifying (cue: The Terminal starring Tom Hanks). But the airport is not just a point of transit. It is a place where adventures start and sometimes, where life chapters come to tearful conclusions. We almost never slow down and wonder where everyone is going and what their stories are. Maybe we should.


HOW TO TRAVEL

Author: Alain de Botton

We secretly crave all the little pleasures that travelling brings but we do not openly admit it. It is better to talk about that famous painting we saw or the vintage wine we sipped as the cruise sailed into the sunset. But we are really looking forward to the next time we can order room service, or search out a passionate romance in a foreign land. Or a part of us may actually just want to curl up in the comfort of our homes the next time we have a vacation.


THE ART OF TRAVEL

Author: Alain de Botton

What do we really want our trips to do for us? Is it, as Alain de Botton seems to suggest, to fix a part of us that is missing or broken? Have we all lost the art of choosing a suitable destination that is appropriate for our afflictions and devolved into unthinking tourists swarming to the same sites? But even if we visit the same painting as everyone else, we can surely be different because we have thought about and obsessed over that very image for so long that being in its physical presence just takes our breath away.