(Photo credit: Moyan Brenn)
This is a tactical post on travel from Ryan Holiday, who’s written on this blog before about the pragmatism of Stoicism and lessons learned as Director of Marketing for American Apparel.
To his 21 rules, I’ve added a few of my own tricks. Please share your own rules and tips in the comments!
Enter Ryan Holiday
Why are you traveling?
Because, you know, you don’t magically get a prize at the end of your life for having been to the most places. There is nothing inherently valuable in travel, no matter how hard the true believers try to convince us.
Seneca, the stoic philosopher, has a great line about the restlessness of those who seem compelled to travel. They go from resort to resort and climate to climate, he says, and continues:
“They make one journey after another and change spectacle for spectacle. As Lucretius says ‘Thus each man flees himself.’ But to what end if he does not escape himself? He pursues and dogs himself as his own most tedious companion. And so we must realize that our difficulty is not the fault of the places but of ourselves.”
It’s hard for me see anything to envy in most people who travel. Because deep down that is what they are doing. Fleeing themselves and the lives they’ve created. Or worse, they’re telling themselves that they’re after self-discovery, exploration or new perspectives when really they are running towards distraction and self-indulgence.
Is that why you’re packing up your things and hitting the road?
Not that I don’t travel myself–I did my fair share this year alone. Both coasts of Australia. I was in Amsterdam for a speaking gig (and I found myself at a tulip farm with Tim where he caught a chicken with his bare hands). I researched for my next book in Rome. I went down to Brazil. I went to Copenhagen. I spent enough time in New York that it felt like I lived there. I road tripped across the United States more times than I can count–New Orleans to New York; New York to Miami; Miami to Austin… The list goes on. If there was a chance to go somewhere I’d never been, I tried to take it, especially if it was historic.