Uncommon choices: The Australian Festival of Travel Writing

Tony Wheeler, the founder of Lonely Planet travel books.
Tony Wheeler, the founder of Lonely Planet travel books.

I am attending the Australian Festival of Travel Writing at the University of Melbourne this weekend. I have never been to such an event and find it extremely useful as two important life narratives; travel and education- have come together. In my case, they have never really been linked except that a love of independent learning and learning for its own sake led to a love of travelling and travelling for its own sake.

There is a lot of wisdom at the festival. I find this very attractive, especially if it is a wisdom that manifests itself in a love of life and knowing that a love of life requires one to make uncommon choices. So many traps prevent people from travelling, in the broader sense of the word: travelling geographically, intellectually, culturally, and socially. Fear and cynicism, class-based prejudice, the fear of leaving one’s comfort zone of pyrrhic successes. These limits on travelling are not unique; one could apply them equally to any sphere of achievement or, at least, the fear of achievement. Achievements based on a love of life are always the most significant successes, and if one doesn’t love life, one can never be truly successful (well, at least not a sensation that is true to oneself).



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