Over the years, I’ve lent a lot of time to books. Some have left the kind of impression where I utter the words as I move through the day. The books that have done that seemingly all have been written by Alain de Botton. Known for his “The Architecture of Happiness“, his books have changed and shaped the way I travel. His book on the “The Art of Travel” transformed the way I see the journey. His book “A Week at the Airport” hit home. Here a few of the quotes I’ve saved to my notes and wanted to share with you.


“It seemed an advantage to be traveling alone. Our responses to the world are crucially moulded by the company we keep, for we temper our curiosity to fit in with the expectations of others…Being closely observed by a companion can also inhibit our observation of others; then, too, we may become caught up in adjusting ourselves to the companion’s questions and remarks, or feel the need to make ourselves seem more normal than is good for our curiosity.”

“A dominant impulse on encountering beauty is to wish to hold on to it, to possess it and give it weight in one’s life. There is an urge to say, ‘I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me.”

“It is not necessarily at home that we best encounter our true selves. The furniture insists that we cannot change because it does not; the domestic setting keeps us tethered to the person we are in ordinary life, who may not be who we essentially are.”

“We are angry because we are overly optimistic, insufficiently prepared for the frustrations endemic to existence. A man who screams every time he loses his keys or is turned away at an airport is evincing a touching but recklessly naïve belief in a world in which keys never go astray and our travel plans are invariably assured.”

“If it is true that love is the pursuit in another of qualities we lack in ourselves, then in our love of someone from another culture, one ambition may be to weld ourselves more closely to values missing from our own culture.”

“Travel agents would be wiser to ask us what we hope to change about our lives rather than simply where we wish to go.”

“Home all at once seems the strangest of destinations, its very detail relativized by the other lands one has visited.” 

“As David lifted a suitcase onto the conveyor belt, he came to an unexpected and troubling realization: that he was bringing himself with him on his holiday. Whatever the qualities of the Dimitra Residence, they were going to be critically undermined by the fact that he would be in the villa as well.”

“Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than a moving plane, ship or train. There is an almost quaint correlation between what is in front of our eyes and the thoughts we are able to have in our heads: large thoughts at times requiring large views, new thoughts new places.”

“See how small your are next to the mountains. Accept what is bigger than you and what you do not understand. The world may appear illogical to you, but it does not follow that it is illogical per se. Our life is not the measure of all things: consider sublime places a reminder of human insignificance and frailty.”


  1. Culture Passport Reply

    Loved this one: “Home all at once seems the strangest of destinations, its very detail relativized by the other lands one has visited.”

  2. I just picked up The Art of Travel a few weeks ago, and read it three times in a week! It’s filled with great quotes and plenty of things to make you think. I’ll have to check out his other books soon.

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