I’ve been doing a lot of reading and staring at maps in anticipation of our great journey. This is a quote from Alain de Botton’s book The Art of Travel which I’ve read and re-read a few times. I like it. Every sentence in his book is beautifully crafted. This paragraph resonates with me for some reason.

“If our lives are dominated by a search for happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dynamics of this quest — in all its ardour and paradoxes — than our travels. They express, however inarticulately, an understanding of what life might be about, outside the constraints of work and the struggle for survival. Yet rarely are they considered to present philosophical problems — that is, issues requiring thought beyond the practical. We are inundated with advice on where to travel to; we hear little of why and how we should go — though the art of travel seems naturally to sustain a number of questions neither so simple nor so trivial and whose study might in modest ways contribute to an understanding of what the Greek philosophers beautifully termed eudaimonia or human flourishing.”

~ Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel, Penguin Books 2003

The past year of preparation has really emphasized in my mind the degree to which we are consumed by these “constraints of work and the struggle for survival”. I think that the search for happiness that de Botton speaks of will be sweeter because of the contrast between our stressful “normal” lives and the freedom of our upcoming wanderings. How would our experiences differ if we had oodles of money at our disposal and didn’t have to work our tails off to pay off student loans and to work our way around the world? Would it be any less rewarding? Or will our hard work leading up to the voyage make our experiences even more gratifying? Interesting to think about anyhow while biting my nails in anticipation.


  1. Robert J. Rosen

  2. Don’t let your travels distract you from eudaimonia.


    Haha ok, will do!

  3. Lindsay Gough

  4. I’m happy you have enjoyed your Xmas prezey. I think all your hard work will make your trip that much sweeter and indulgent. Lovey!

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