The Art of Travel on TV

I just watched The Art of Travel in a BBC Channel 4 program by Seneca Productions, which looks a bit like a de Botton family enterprise. Thank you, Joel for recording & sending me the DVD!

The one hour TV documentary is a witty, carefully observing executive summary of the book, but with a twist. Of course, the book is much deeper and even more interesting - but given that you certainly spend a couple of hours more on reading than watching the program, that's not really surprising. Maybe there's a bit of an objective explanation for the often perceived better quality of books vs. their film version?

But that's a tangent again. The TV version of The Art captures the key tenet of the book very well, namely that happiness is not a condition we can find in distant places, but inside of ourselves. This is demonstrated nicely by way of examples such as the elderly lady who decided to spend the rest of her days on board of QE2, the couple that spends their vacations hunting down WWII bunkers, the German swinger hotel (yes, really!), or by relieving Japanese tourists of their cameras and asking them to draw a church spire instead (incidentally, they performed splendidly!). Throughout all this, you hear the author's calm narrative, combined with an astute camera eye catching many small details, which often times are embarrassing or self-ironic, but always full of civility. Highly recommended.

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