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Few activities seem to promise as much happiness as going travelling: taking off for somewhere else, somewhere far from home, a place with more interesting weather, customs and landscapes. But although we are inundated with advice on where to travel to, we seldom ask why we go and how we might become more fulfilled by doing so. With the help of a selection of writers, artists and thinkers - including Flaubert, Edward Hopper, Wordsworth and Van Gogh - Alain de Botton's bestselling The Art of Travel provides invaluable insights into everything from holiday romance to hotel minibars, airports to sightseeing. The perfect antidote to those guides that tell us what to do when we get there, The Art of Travel tries to explain why we really went in the first place - and helpfully suggests how we might be happier on our journeys.
The bestselling author of The Consolations of Philosophy now journeys into the world of travel, focusing on how many of us look forward to 'getting away from it all' yet often feel wildly disappointed when we get there. To take a closer look at why this happens Alain de Botton jets off from winter-grim Hammersmith to Barbados, noting how even the most cynical among us is a sucker for a holiday brochure. Drawing our attention to daily aspects of life that miraculously don't make it into the glossy pages, he takes us in a grubby taxi past the stray howling dogs, to the hotels where ugly air-conditioning units growl and rumble in the shadows - before informing us of the impact we ourselves have on that little slice of heaven we've just invaded. Next we visit a service station between Manchester and London, where de Botton's ability to find 'poetry' in such grim surrounds is both impressive and thought-provoking. Amsterdam, the Lake District, Madrid and the Sinai Desert are discussed with gently humorous observations, as are airports, mobile phone junkies and hotel mini-bars. De Botton's companions are well chosen: Wordsworth, Baudelaire, Job and van Gogh to name but a few. Combining their observations and experiences with his own, he eschews the glut of patronising travel guides that tell us what they think we should do when we get there, and concentrates on why we wanted to go there in the first place, even suggesting how we could have a better time. He's been acclaimed for taking philosophy back to 'its simplest and most important purpose: helping us to live our lives', and here he's done it again. Next time you're thinking of travelling, forget the guides and read this instead; chances are you'll enjoy your trip all the more. (Kirkus UK)
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: May 2006
Dimensions (cm): 18.1 x 13.1 x 1.8
Weight (kg): 17.7
Edition Number: 1