It’s the Journey not the Destination
Carl Honoré, illustrated by Kevin & Kristen Howdeshell
The author of this book urges readers who undertake any of forty adventures here to take their time. That’s the only way to discover what makes each place special and worth a visit. I’ll never forget one time I was staying in Jaipur when a group of tourists from the USA rolled up to the hotel and one of them said, “Hey, what country are we in now?” Their whistle-stop tour to several parts of the world certainly wasn’t about the amazing people, the sights, sounds and smells – the real things that makes each place special, which they were going to miss out on with this attitude. It’s a pity they’d not been able to read what Carl Honoré has to say before setting out.
The book has four main sections: Journeys on Foot, Journeys by Bike, Journeys by Boat and Journeys by Train. These slower modes of transport have been deliberately chosen by the author as being most suitable for those who want to savour the sights, sounds and smells both of the places they stop at and what they pass as they travel. Every section starts with a world map locating each journey.
No matter which of the Journeys on Foot you choose, doing it with mindfulness will make all the difference. Otherwise you’ll likely miss the possibility of seeing a sloth hanging upside down or even better, swimming in the blue waters of Costa Rica’s Tenorio Volcano Park, a dazzling tropical rainforest. And you’ll most certainly not feel the ancient spiritual power of the enormous Uluru stone monolith or notice how its colour changes with the angle of the sun.
I have visited India’s Rajasthan state almost every year for at least two decades doing a lot of exploring on foot but cycling from Jodhpur to Udaipur (my favourite of the three cities mentioned) to Jaipur is too great a challenge for me though I’ve met people who have done just that.
Each of the cities and environs offers an astonishing mix of ancient and modern; a sensory cornucopia for sure.
Another of my favourite cities, Amsterdam, is included in the Journeys by Boat section. Here you can explore the wonderful canals and elegant architecture, perhaps in a pedalo, savouring every moment of the experience.
When readers turn to the final section, in particular the ‘Hail the Highlanders on the Jacobite Steam Train’ spread they may well recognise the Glenfinnan Viaduct illustrated; that’s because the Hogwarts Express travels over it in the Harry Potter films. However the entire journey offers a visual feast with those amazing mountains and valleys.
No matter which of the journeys you put on your ‘to do’ list, make sure to read carefully the author’s 12 ways to travel ‘Slow’; it could make all the difference to your experiences. Till then you can become a world traveller without leaving your sofa by slowly reading this beautifully illustrated book; but think of what you’re missing.