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The Art of Travel – Alain de Botton

Traveling Nearby

Progymnasmata: Confirmation

This video as a side piece to Alain De Botton’s book “The Art of Travel” is a wonderful collage of the reasons to travel. The perks and drawbacks of traveling to the unknown. He ventures through different kinds of travel such as cruise ships, road trips, and plane travel. With most places he draws from artists who painted, photographed or wrote about the sublime and wonderment of different places. Along with clips of the cities and villages that almost abstractly show the feeling and aura of each place. Whether it be an obscure shot of the neon on a red light district or the smooth movement of an airport escalator. From quick shots of tanning European cruise ship go-ers to the erotically dressed swinging hotel guests, these small clips give the viewer a sense of the atmosphere of a certain place. Botton travels to several different countries and discusses the “why” of travel in all of them. One of my favorite points he makes is that one does not necessarily travel far to feel the excitement and pleasures of travel. He observes people in distant places wandering sheepishly towards their guide. It seems that their curiosity is not being fed by the must see wonders of that destination. People have left their home to wander aimlessly, and maybe that is what they want. But there are lots of people that travel to see something exotic. He argues that something “exotic” is a matter of perspective. A cold rainy english day can be exotic to an Egyptian, just like the Nile can be exotic to an english man. The point being travel and the wonders of travel can be felt very close to home. It’s a wonderful argument because it manifests curiosity. People should travel to different cultures. There is extreme merit in that, but people should also explore their known. By accepting travel to nearby or known places one can accept more curiosity into their day to day. In a way it folds some of the wonder in travel into habitual life, so days do not feel so monotonous.

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