Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Art of Travel

Somewhere on the innernets this past week, I came upon an essayist named Alain de Botton. Don't know where, and does it really matter?


In looking through his list of books, I found a small work titled The Art of Travel. As I am in anticipation mode for our big travel next month, I checked with the library system and picked it up!

I'm only 20 pages into it and I'm already telling ya... if you're thinking about travelling, read him.

The first chapter of the book is a section on the Anticipation of travel. Just where I'm at now.

He has arrived at his planned winter destination (Barbados), when it suddenly hits him. He anticipated arriving at the airport and arriving in his bungalow. "In my anticipation, there had simply been a vacuum between the airport and my hotel." His mind conveniantly skipped over the nuts and bolts of the time in between. (and don't we all??)

So he considers:

If we are inclined to forget how much there is in the world besides that which we anticipate, then works of art are perhaps a little to blame, for in them we find at work the same process of simplification or selection as in the imagination. Artistic accounts involve severe abbreviations of what reality will force upon us. A travel book may tell us, for example, that the narrator journeyed through the countryside for an afternoon to reach the hill town of X and after a night in its medieval monastery awoke to a misty dawn. But we never simply 'journey through an afternoon We sit on a train. Lunch digests awkwardly. We look out the window at a field. .....

A storyteller who provided us with such profusion of details would rapidly grow maddening. Unfortunately, life itself often subscribes to this mode of storytelling, wearing us out with repetitions, misleading emphases and inconsequential plot lines.

Which explains the curious phenomenon whereby valuable elements may be easier to experience in art and in anticipation than in reality.

With the venues I'm visiting, I'm certain that the anticipation is much tighter than the reality will be. Walking the old town of Dubrovnik... sounds simple and slightly romantic. Walking around a strange city with a foreign language for 5-6 hours? Sounds a lot more strenuous. But heck, I'm preparing for it already this weekend!

In other travelling news, do you read Moby's blog?? (and did you notice how hip I am being not even trying to 'splain who Moby is?? Yes, I am that hip and with it!! Actually, the guy is just a writer I enjoy!!)

Today he admitted:
in other news: cannes was nuts. i'd never been there during the film festival.

it's, uh, o.t.t(a contemporary acronym meaning, i believe, 'over the top'. see, that's me trying to stay contemporary. awesome, right?).

so, this morning in cannes i woke up and stumbled to the french doors of my hotel room, flung them open to look at the nice mediterranean sea and the rich people's yachts thereon, and then realized that there were about 500 tourists and photographers looking at the front of the hotel(and, by default, me)to see if they could spot any movie stars.

so for a brief second the tourists and photographers were subjected to me in my bleary eyed morning naked-ness.

i'm hoping(more for their sake than mine)that no one saw anything(not much to see, unless you like bald white guys looking like they just woke up, which i just had, actually).

it was a brief moment of unintended nudity, and i can only assume that anyone who saw me probably wondered 'huh, i wonder what that naked bald guy is doing in the movie star hotel? maybe he's norah jones' assistant, possibly from a work-release program?'

or something similar.

and now it's 6 a.m in montpellier(did i spell it right?)and i should go to sleep, for tomorrow we go to barcelona, which i love(it's a hard city not to love).

ok, goodnight.

I travel to the city early in the morning on BART for the express purpose of walking across it. One water way to the other.

Next month I travel to Asia Minor to begin a 2 week adventure of walking all over the Mediterranean.

July I travel to Chicago to meet up all the BlogHer Babes and even take in a baseball game.

Anticipation is what I'm all about.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

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