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.