Aongus Mui

Alain de Botton: The Art of Travel

Alain the Botton: The Art of Travel

In the short film taken by Alain de Botton, he discusses what he searches for on a vacation. In the first ten minutes of the video, he explains that one of the biggest things that he wants is to be away from himself. “Wherever we chose to go, perhaps the underlying wish is for me to get away from me.” (de Botton 6:19) He is going about how he wants to forget his worries and his struggles with his life and within himself. De Botton turns to travel to relax without any problems lingering in his mind. Another point that he talks about is how travellers only see the good side of travel. Tourists always see brochures or advertisements about certain places but when in reality the place is not as good as the advertisements make it seem like. He claims that people never consider the downsides of a vacation, as in the substandard parts of a location like the crowds and loud traffic of the place. One of the main themes that I picked up from de Botton is to never expect too much from a certain place, otherwise it could end up being something you didn’t quite enjoy and the place no longer feels as special or loved.

Something that I related to was when de Botton stated “Hotels offer a particular opportunity to experience anonymity and to speculate about the anonymous others around us.” (de Botton 32:19) As someone who has travelled many places and visited many hotels, I noticed that hotels were almost always comforting. Hotels have a way of making you feel at ease even though you are in a room that you’ve never been in before. In a way, you are just left with yourself and your thoughts, allowing you to reflect on yourself. “Something about being away from our ordinary habitat sets us free to release bits of ourselves that don’t get an airing in everyday life.” (de Botton 34:18) Time and time again, travel proves to be the most efficient way to discover and learn more about ourselves, things that would otherwise stay hidden in our familiarized pattern of life.

Travelling helps people loosen up and let their guard down just enough to uncover bits and pieces of our hidden self.

4 replies on “Alain de Botton: The Art of Travel”

I really like that you brought two themes that are somewhat a paradox of each other. One is about the mayhem of travel and the other about the oasis you find in travel. I also appreciate that you mentioned the pamphlet. It allowed me to visualize your summery.

As Catherine stated above I also enjoyed the paradoxical nature of your post. I like how you bring up the brochures as well which related to our other reading by Cohn about visual rhetoric. You detail an idea she stated that how something appears is not always what it actually is, though she does this with pictures of food not necessarily brochures themselves. I enjoy your last sentence of your first paragraph about one of the themes you picked up from him. It seems all too often people are putting stipulations and forcing a vacation to go go a certain way and seldom do they live in the moment. I know from my experience even going somewhere as simple as a restaurant my friends and family have ‘hyped’ up where we’re going only to be dissapointed when we get there and the menu has changed or something of that nature and it immediately becomes a drag for them.

Your post was absolutely my favorite that I read. You brought in two very memorable quotes that I identified with during the video, and your second to last sentence, “travel proves to be the most efficient way to discover and learn more about ourselves, things that would otherwise stay hidden in our familiarized pattern of life” capped your post in the most succinct and relatable way.

Aongus, Thanks for your thoughts in this post. Here are some ideas on how to improve:

1. I’m not certain which program exercise this is! Labeling, one way or another, is essential. Also, I asked everybody for Friday’s class to go through and “tag” each post according to the different progym exercises.

2. Relatedly, think about how you can present your blog in a more rhetorically effective way. For instance, play with the title function on the posting screen, and consider how a title can work to establish a rhetorical context.

3. This feels a bit like a normal, scholastic summary of the Botton video. I’d like to see you sink your teeth more into the different progym moves, considering the different rhetorical effects they produce. Feel free to get a bit creative and take some risks.

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