My wife and I left our jobs and lives in San Francisco last year to drive the Pan American highway from Canada to Patagonia in a camper van. In doing so, we became what are known as “overlanders”, or travelers who chose to travel by land, as opposed to flying into each destination. It was something we dreamed about for several years; the ability to explore as we please and move slowly through new countries.
Meet the Bartholomews, aka You Can’t be Serious.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be out buying a mountain bike and overcoming my crippling fear of heights.
Alain de Botton is the man who made philosophy cool again. A modern day Proustian who has written about love and happiness, deconstructed some of the most famous thinkers of all time and founded a global institution, the School of Life, a centre dedicated to “developing emotional intelligence”.
Warning: may include dangerous levels of natural beauty. Consume at own risk.
The beaming and curious smiles of the locals watch on as we load our bags into the back locker of our overland truck. The dirt road snakes its way onwards through gentle hills, punctuated by traditional thatched straw homes. Smoke from early morning cooking dots the horizon and mixes with the cool mist in the early morning sun. Another epic day on the road awaits.
We have seen the images, the news reports, the desperate cries for help. The situation in Syria has been described by the UN as “the greatest humanitarian tragedy of our times”. And with more people displaced globally now than any time since World War II, the situation is looking bleak.
I’ve been fascinated in Astronomy since I was a child learning about the solar system at school, watching The Sky at Night and visiting planetariums. But I have no real knowledge of the subject on an academic level, so I was a little nervous to join a specialist astronomy tour heading to Svalbard to witness the total eclipse in case I found myself surrounded by Astrophysicists and (quite frankly) feeling a little stupid.
‘What is travel?’ is an interesting question, but more for what it tells you about the people doing the asking. The meaning of travel, despite ‘definitive’ articles to the contrary, is pretty subjective. And your relationship to it changes as you get older and begin to spend your weekends doing things like browsing health insurance policies. Reasons and motivations begin to wrinkle, just like us, revealing character.