The Art of Travel

Edward Hopper Compartment C, Car 293 1938 © Private collection; photograph © Geoffrey Clements/Corbis Oil on canvas 50 x 45 cm

Some months ago, I bought a book 'The Art of Travel' (by Alain de Botton). It was an excellent one, with writings about travel, and the feeling from deep in the heart of a traveller. A traveller, not a tourist.

I kind of left the book behind, for I came across some Chinese books which caught my attention. Then I had my Henan trip, and now, I am back. I started reading this book 'The Art of Travel' again. Just felt like time to read something in English, and also re-think what travel means to myself.

Friends know that I don't feel like staying here in Hong Kong - not because of the solitude feeling I have, I never really have because I have all really nice friends and people around me. I love them all. Yet, I still keep going, keep travelling. There was one point I started thinking whether I really want to travel around and see what's there outside Hong Kong or how people live their lives elsewhere in the World. Shouldn't I stay here with my loved ones in Hong Kong?

There was another point of time I started thinking why I like travelling by my own self. People said to me they would feel lost, crazy, bored... whatever bit negative feeling would come up once talking about 'travelling alone'. However, I enjoyed the time being on my own (except the time, when I wanna try some big portion of food while on the road, I simply couldn't make it to eat them all!). I enjoyed the time looking out there silently, with just my eyes and my camera. I also enjoyed the time thinking and hearing the voice from my heart.

Being alone on the road, I could hear many things too - the songs by the birds, the conversation between people around me, the radio, the noises in the market, the shouts by the hawkers... I felt myself really there at the place where I was.

I also asked myself if there was any sort of sadness inside my heart, while being alone that far away from home, far away from my friends and my beloved ones. Yes, there was. It wasn't a kind of sadness that would make me cry, not even a sort of sadness that would break my heart. It's some sort of sadness which brought me away from reality, away from an 'ordinary state of mood'. It's out of the emotions which I normally have during the time when I was with my friends at a familiar place. This kind of sadness does not stay long in my heart, it was just there while I was lost in thought during that particular moment or thinking something I have never thought of before.

The next moment, sadness is gone. I felt contented.

It was a chapter in the book 'The Art of Travel' that brought me the thoughts shared here. There were also some paintings in the book which inspired me. Shared here one of those, and the link to know more about this artist, the author of the book, and some of the content in the book:
'The Pleasures of Sadness' <>

I'll keep going.

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