Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Joys of Travel: And the Stories that Illuminate Them by Thomas Swick

genre: non-fiction, essays, travel

Thomas Swick is a traveler's writer - if you already enjoy travel, chances are you will feel like he is articulating ideas you had but never had words for.   The anticipation before a journey, the way just being somewhere new can heighten the senses and make you feel more alive, the constant drive for novelty.  All those ideas really resonated with me.  His essays also take us to foreign destinations and explore his own experiences there - Poland, Key West, Germany, Bangkok.  Since he is definitely more into meeting strangers than I am, I marveled at how often he ends up in the homes of people he doesn't know. Truthfully, he did inspire me to try and reach out a bit more when I am out, to strike up conversations if for no other reason than to get outside myself and really try to learn about other ways of living.

Sometimes I found our author a bit condescending - he's SUCH a travel, it's SO obvious.  Maybe if I just read the essays one at a time in a newspaper or magazine over a long stretch it wouldn't have bothered me, but to read them all at one time felt a bit like he was shoving the awesomeness of his experience in my face.  Not all the time, but occasionally.   One thing I really liked was how often he would quote other familiar writers and their feelings about wandering.

This short compilation didn't bore me and feel like I did widen my horizons a bit by reading it - I think my next travel experience (which of course can never come soon enough!) will be a bit different because of his perspective, so that's something.

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