Read, Review, Travel: The Joys of Travel
I recently finished reading the book, The Joys of Travel and Stories that Illuminate Them, by Thomas Swick, an American travel writer. This travel book was given to me as either a Christmas or birthday present. In the first half of the book, Thomas writes a short essay about each of the following different aspects, or joys, of travel: anticipation, movement, break from routine, novelty, discovery, emotional connection, and a heightened appreciation of home. In each of these essays, it seems like he just rambles about the travel joy and somewhat connects his thoughts together. Several times, I would pause and wonder what the essay was supposed to be about because it seemed like he jumped from one thought to another.
I much preferred the second part of the book where he wrote a travel story that was supposed to highlight each of the travel joys. At first, I thought that the first travel story went with anticipation and then the next one went with movement and down the list, but after a while, I wasn’t so sure if the stories lined up with the joys.
Anyway, I ended up just enjoying each travel story and didn’t try to pair it up with a travel joy. I enjoyed his story about Poland, which is where he lived for several years and met his wife. However, this story was about a trip he made to Poland after moving back to the United States. I would have liked a story about a time he lived in the country and perhaps comparing a custom or event to something he had experienced previously back home in America.
Thomas wrote a lengthy essay regarding his trip to Italy to learn more about a movement against the Mafia, named the Addiopizzo. This anti-Mafia organization helps local businesses and encourages them to not pay the Mafia. It was interesting to learn more about this, because a lot of times, the media portrays the Mafia as a cool gang, and the Mafia is somewhat celebrated in movies such as The Godfather. However, in real life and happening right now, the Mafia is still present and making it hard for businesses to stay afloat. Addiopizzo argues that businesses should not have to pay the Mafia just to be able to be open. This was definitely an eye-opening essay!
Another good essay in the second half of the book detailed Thomas’ adventure during Oktoberfest in Germany. I have heard of this festival and was curious what it entailed. Thomas does a good job explaining exactly what takes place, and it basically just comprises of drinking beer and eating chicken! Based on his description, I know I can live life comfortably and with no regret of not attending this festival! It’s not that his description was bad, it’s just that it was so detailed and I know what I like enough to know that I probably would not enjoy myself at this event. I have never been the type of person who enjoys drinking a lot. I do like to drink, but not a lot where I get drunk!
Overall, this was a decent book. I would recommend that readers skip the first part of the book and just read the second half that has the travel stories starting with Warsaw Redux, his trip to Poland. I do not see myself reading more of Thomas’ works, but The Joys of Travel was still an enjoyable read.