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New travel article: Why the travels are never the same as the stories | nicolasdecorte.be

New travel article: Why the travels are never the same as the stories


28 December 2009

Some time ago I was going through the first chapter of The Art of Travel by Alain De Botton, the chapter that handles about expectations we have about travelling and how they are never similar to what we actually experience.

The guide through this chapter is the Duc des Esseintes - a character from the JK Huysmans novel "A Rembours" - who is the classic example of someone who prefers nothing but staying at home. One day the Duc is looking at some English art and he starts dreaming of London. Next thing he knows he goes to the train station with a lot of bags and boxes to start his travels. Because he has to wait for his train to come, he decides to visit a typical English bar. In this bar he sees everything he expected from England and he figures that actually travelling over there could only make his experience worse. So he takes his stuff back home, to never leave the house again.

This is a shortly summarized passage of the story of the Duc des Esseintes, it's a lot funnier when De Botton tells it, but it says exactly what I want to tell you.
Nothing can beat your dreams and expectations, because in reality there are a lot more things that define your state of mind. There are the physical factors like the temperature, hunger, thirst, all kind of pains, your food that is roughly working its way through your intestines and so on. And then there are psychological factors which keep you from total happiness like thinking of work, a current loss, an argument with your partner, jealousy and much much more. And for last there's also something like third party factors which most of the time are other people, loud people, smelly people, pushy people, annoying people, ugly people, people watching your girlfriend too much and more of these. Oh yeah, and mosquitoes.

If you're still with me, you're probably wondering what point I'm trying to make here.
Well, if more expectations lead to more disappointments, you need to make sure that you don't have many expectations. And how can you not expect something? By not knowing what to expect! And there we are, the solution is independent travelling. Take a flight to some destination and figure out everything while you're there and most of all, enjoy the unexpected.

In my article Why the travels are never the same as the stories I've taken a small example to prove that nothing you experience is like people told you it would be, and even more, it's also never the same like you tell it to other people..

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