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Friday, October 5, 2007

Travelling: anticipation

So, do you want to come to Thailand? I'm travelling on Sunday for a month of work, writing hotel and restaurant reviews and a spas spread for DK, and stories for magazines. You're welcome to join me on my journey. I'm busy planning the trip now and as tedious as elements of organizing trips can be (I must have planned hundreds of these), it's still a little exciting. Trawling through the Thai tourism websites, hotel sites, online airline schedules, comparing reviews, considering trekking itineraries, and calculating road distances, are all working together to create a sense of anticipation. Already I'm imagining tucking into some spicy Thai food at a table within splashing distance of the sea, climbing endless steps to see a colossal reclining gold Buddha, learning to 'drive' and ride an enormous elephant, and feeling the sand squeak beneath my feet on a pristine white sand beach. Alain de Botton writes in The Art of Travel of the anticipation created from seeing a tourist brochure that: "... displayed a row of palm trees, many of them growing at an angle, on a sandy beach fringed by a turquoise sea, set against a backdrop of hills where I imagined there to be waterfalls and relief from the heat in the shade of sweet-smelling fruit trees." The longing provoked by the brochure is evidence of the power and influence of "simple images of happiness", he writes, "how a lengthy and ruinously expensive journey might be set into motion by nothing more than the sight of a photograph of a palm tree gently reclining in a tropical breeze." de Botton immediately resolved to travel to Barbados. It was there that he explored the anticipation of travel and the actual reality. I'm going to do the same in Thailand. So, do you want to join me?


Anonymous said...

I would love to!
I'm taking off for a month in March.
As you know, I have a book idea in mind and I spoke of the destinations. Hmm, perhaps I could look into Thailand as well!
I love this blog!


Prêt à Voyager said...

Good luck on your way to Thailand. I'm off to leg one of my 3 stop trip tonight! Happy travels!


Alexander Santillanes said...

Mmm... just got back from a weekend of eating spicy Thai seafood on the beach... But I'm ready to go back for more. -X

franki durbin said...

It's such an iconic travel book, isn't it? I bought it years ago and always marvel at its observations.

I'll be going to Thailand vicariously through you, so let the journey begin!

Bon Viveur said...

Was actually blogging about de Botton's "The Art Of Travel" too!
My fav chapters were "On Anticipation", "On Exotic" & "On Eye-Opening Art". Real inspirational read. Your blog is quite an inspiration too, adding it to my blog links. cheers!

Lara Dunston said...

Bon viveur, I'm glad you love De Botton's book too - I've read it many times and I always have it with me and periodically dip into it as I travel. While I always find myself relating to his every word and nodding in agreement as i read, I still keep discovering new ways of thinking about travel, and find his writing inspires me to write. I'm going to check your blog now!