Why we travel

Beautiful – Pico Iyer’s Why We Travel  in line with the 2014 MYE question on whether travel broadens the mind.

So travel, at heart, is just a quick way to keeping our minds mobile and awake. As Santayana, the heir to Emerson and Thoreau with whom I began, wrote, “There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble; it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.” Romantic poets inaugurated an era of travel because they were the great apostles of open eyes. Buddhist monks are often vagabonds, in part because they believe in wakefulness. And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” 

Here is Alain de Botton’s documentary on The Art of Travel (one of my favourite books) – completely enjoyable (and lyrical) exploration of the impulse to travel, and the paradoxes, attitudes and treasures surrounding it.

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