In 2019, fueled by my excitement at having Finally Moved to Europe, I traveled a lot. Perhaps a little too much in retrospect (but also not enough – there’s so many places!). One one such trip, I spied this book at an airport:
Pshh, I told myself. I already know how to travel, thank you very much. Then I found myself buying it. It’ll make for a nice companion.
It’s a series of thirty essays on themes related to travel. They’re all quite well-written and have a relatability that simultaneously prompts ponderation. Here are some excerpts that I particularly enjoyed:
From What Is ‘Exotic’?
[Exotic] merely means anywhere we yearn to go which we suspect has something important to teach us. […] The exotic is evidence of what is missing in ourselves.
From Travel as a Cure for Shyness
Through travel, you’re freeing yourself from your inhibitions. You’re growing up – and into yourself.
From Pretty Cities
It would be a good deal easier if we could remain in much the same mood wherever we happened to be. It is maddening how vulnerable we are to the coded messages that emanate from buildings.
From The Longing to Talk to Strangers
[…] tourism tends to separate us from the inhabitants of the countries we’ve come to visit. They remain shadowy, occasional figures […]
From The Little Restaurant
Almost all of us are, when we travel, in search of this ideal establishment: the little restaurant. […] The place has no anxiety about itself. […] Everything is simple, fresh, yet absolutely remarkable.
From In Defence of Crowds
The grander and more hopeful ambition is to transform our experience of being one of many; to turn the idea of a group from an insult to a virtue: to make belonging as nice as it can be.
From Drawing Rather than Taking Photographs
The really precious things are thought and sight, not pace. […] glory is not at all in going, but in being.
And finally, from the apt The Advantages of Staying at Home
[…] the vast labour of getting ourselves physically to a place won’t necessarily get us any closer to the essence of what we’ve been seeking […] in daydreaming of the ideal location, we may have already enjoyed the very best that any place has to offer us.