Saturday, September 03, 2005

Alain de Botton on the travelling mindset

What, then, is a traveling mind-set? Receptivity might be said to be its chief characteristic. Receptive, we approach new places with humility. We carry with us no rigid ideas about what is or is not interesting. We irritate locals because we stand in traffic islands and narrow streets and admire what they take to be unremarkable small details. We risk getting run over because we are intrigued by the roof of a government building or an inscription on a wall. We find a supermarket or a hairdresser's shop unusually fascinating. We dwell at length on the layout of a menu or the clothes of the presenters on the evening news. We are alive to the layers of history beneath the present and take notes and photographs. Home, by contrast, finds us more settled in our expectations. We feel assured that we have discovered everything interesting about our neighborhood, primarily by virtue of our having lived there a long time. It seems inconceivable that there could be anything new to find in a place where we have been living for a decade or more. We have become habituated and therefore blind to it.
--Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel (2002)


At 8:29 PM, Blogger Iqbal Khaldun said...

Well said, um, I mean quoted. So where are you guys now?

At 3:06 AM, Blogger Harrison said...

yeah, I think he puts it nicely! currently in cesky krumlov in czech republic, heading up to prague in a couple of days. about to head out for a bohemian meal and some very cheap and delicious pilsner! hope to post again soon. H


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