Friday, April 23, 2010

Alain de Botton: Shadow Voyages

One of the best things about Alain de Botton's The Art Of Travel is reading about the guides accompanying him on his various peregrinations around the globe. William Wordsworth takes him through the Lake District, Charles Baudelaire & Edward Hopper through the solitary edges of shadow voyages...

...and Vincent van Gogh through the shimmering light of Provence:

If I could chose my ideal guide for a trip it would be Arthur Rimbaud on a voyage through Ethiopia. I'd love to hear what he'd say about the country he knew as Abyssinia and if he had any new ideas about making a buck apart from running guns. Probably not. Then we'd travel to Paris, drink absinthe and smoke hash in the bars around Montmartre until we pickled our brains.

As de Botton says in the brief clip below (looking uncannily like a young Brian Eno), one of the great problems of travel is that "you can't leave yourself behind." Perhaps, but you can always lose yourself...

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