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The art of travel versus the art of writing The art of travel versus the art of writing
When we plan for travel and anticipate the upcoming trip, we explore travel websites (like this blog), read travel books and enjoy travel photography. In our... The art of travel versus the art of writing

When we plan for travel and anticipate the upcoming trip, we explore travel websites (like this blog), read travel books and enjoy travel photography. In our imagination we start to conjure up all sorts of exotic adventures, waiting for us at our next destination. Once really there, we photograph the Eiffel Tower with our loved ones, friends and family in front of it. All those images form the recollection of the trip, the moments we choose to remember.

In Alain de Botton’s book The Art of Travel, he talks about the anticipation and recollection of travel versus the reality of actually traveling. Because while we remember the highlights, magically gone from our memory are the delayed or even cancelled flight, the overpriced lousy food and the hotel room that didn’t quite look as good in reality as it did on the website. But, as long as we enjoyed the majority of the trip, our brain selects those “good moments” to construct a different reality from the actual experience.

De Botton’s next idea is fascinating. He says that’s exactly what an artist does. Whether writing a book, painting a picture or creating a piece of music, the artist imagines the outline of the work [anticipates the delights of the trip] then selects that which is felt to have artistic value [forgets the crappy hotel room and includes friends at the Eiffel Tower]. Just like the traveler only stores good memories from the trip, the artist ends up with a bestselling book, painting or piece of music. The artist has created art through imagination: selection, rejection and combination of artistic elements, resulting in something completely new. Using the same principles, the happy traveler has created a wonderful trip.

The artist, and traveler, select and combine elements which capture the essence of the picture in their mind, thereby intensifying it. When writing about a day in your life, you don’t start with what you had for breakfast or that your car wouldn’t start. The details of the whole story are compressed to intensify real life in order to create something interesting and of artistic value. When I started writing the first book in the Freedom Project series, Travel, I had to learn it wasn’t necessary to include all the insignificant details of my trips before others could benefit from the value of my travel hacking principles. All I needed to do was to include some example stories of how I had put those travel hacking principles into practice.

The experience of travel and writing a book are much the same. Let me finish by quoting De Botton in the Art of Travel:

The anticipatory and artistic imaginations omit and compress, they cut away the periods of boredom and direct our attention to critical moments and, without either lying or embellishing, thus lend to life vividness and a coherence that it may lack in the distracting woolliness of the present.

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Wilko van de Kamp Author

WILKO VAN DE KAMP is the author of #1 international best seller The Freedom Project and several other books and e-books. He's also an award-winning photographic artist, and professional world traveler. His inspiration comes from traveling all over the world. He calls the Canadian Rocky Mountains his home, and the rest of the world his office. He has been capturing our wonderful planet, and it's beautiful inhabitants, for more than half his life. Wilko has spent his life traveling the world to capture awe-inspiring images for those who wouldn't see them otherwise, and to inspire others to embark on their journey of a lifetime. Through his art, writing and appearances as a keynote speaker he enjoys sharing his colorful experiences with the world. Visit him online at www.wilko.ca