Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A World Without Planes. . .

Writer and philosopher Alain de Botton, who last year was appointed writer-in-residence at Heathrow Airport and will be publishing a book on his experiences this fall, probably could write a sequel just from hanging out there this week! Instead, he's written a piece for the BBC musing on a world without planes. You can read it here. Travel, he writes would obviously be slower, but, "if one of our key motives for travelling is to try to put the past behind us, then we often need something very large and time-consuming, like the experience of a month long journey across an ocean or a hike over a mountain range, to establish a sufficient sense of distance. "
I'm seeing a slew of recent non-fiction books focusing on slowing down, shutting out the digital world, turning off the media, contemplating the world around you, seeking out silence and space to think and reflect. Ironically, one of the places where I felt most at ease and relaxed was in Iceland on a fabulous walking holiday I took two years ago. I feel sorry for the thousands of travellers that are experiencing a real monetary or anxious distress at not being able to get home or away, but hope that those who have found themselves in a place for longer than they intended, take this unusual "gift" of time and unexpected jolt to the routine, and are making the most of it.

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