Why Travel? My Top Three Books

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–that our travels.

Alain de Botton. The Art of Travel

Here is a follow up on my previous post on why I travel. There are a myriad of travel resources online. These help us decide where to go, how to get there, where to stay, and even what to wear. It’s assumed that you know why you are going wherever you are heading. But travel can be a deeply transformative experience. Here are my favourite three choices on books that give an insight on the importance of exploring new territory, and how to make your journey more intentional. Authors share their observations on their travel, and the lessons they have learned through these essays, journal entries, interviews, and narratives,.

THE ART OF TRAVEL by Alain de Botton

Swiss born, British author and philosopher Alain de Botton shares his views on travel through these immersive and insightful journal entries and essays. The Art of Travel has an appealing collection of photos and sketches that lends itself to the journaling vibe. Published in 2008, this title continues to provide invaluable insight to the way travel can affect one’s life.


American novelist and writer Paul Theroux’s collection of essays and interviews from 2001-2016 gives us a glimpse into a variety of people and places. Included are writings about literary figures such as Albert Camus, Joseph Conrad, and Muriel Spark, but also about Robin Williams. His essays, that take across numerous continents, give enormous and enlightening views, stories, and ideas that could impact your view on the world. At very least, it’s an delightful armchair journey.

VAGABONDING: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

Vagabonding, as the title suggests, is all about wandering. American travel writer Rolf Potts explains how to prepare yourself for an extended (three weeks to two years) journey to your destination(s). However, he also goes into much detail about why you might consider vagabonding. Potts also describes ways that you can heighten your travel experience and deepen the journey to make it transformational.


Here are two additional recommendations.

The Stories of Paul Bowles This title by travel writer Paul Bowles provides lovely descriptions and stories of his travels.

The Art of Flaneuring Erika Owen gives detailed instruction on how to flaneur — a highly recommended practice whether you are immersed in a new or familiar landscape. (Click link below for my review of this title)

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