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Inspires you to travel and make art,
This review is from: The Art of Travel (Paperback)The art of travel might as well be called the art of life. To live is to travel. You don't even have to go far. It's all about observing a place and appreciate what's around you. You could get bored anywhere, you can't help it ... you always bring yourself with you.
Something that runs like a read thread through the book is the importance of what we do with our experiences, how we record them or rather what we chose to record. That's where the artists and writers come in. I'm especially found of the references to Edward Hopper and how he found the beauty in gas stations, hotel rooms and train carriages. There are also examples of Des Esseintes weariness (he preferred to collect objects and look at pictures to travelling), Flaubert's travels in Egypt (his love for the exotic and the boredom he suffered from back home), Van Gogh's time in Provence (no one had "seen" cypresses before him), Wordsworth's appreciation for nature (especially the Lake district) and Ruskin's way of painting in words. Last but not least there's a chapter about De Maistre who went for a journey around his bedroom.
Alain De Botton writes in an easy-going prose and draws a lot of parallels to his own life and his own travels. The book has certainly made me think of the world around me and I feel more poetic. I'll also make sure to get the most of a place next time I travel somewhere, instead of blindly reading passages from a guide book I'll allow myself to take in a place and make my own personal judgment. Instead of snapping away with a camera I'll bring out a notebook and sketch pad.
This book is for anyone. It doesn't matter if you're not a traveller or an artist when you start reading it. When you've finished it, you'll be inspired to become one.