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Why We Travel

"Beautifully written by a leading travel journalist, this wise and moving ode to the transformative power of travel melds memoir with anthropological and psychological insights."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Beautifully, circularly structured — from the author’s seminal trip to New Zealand as a teenager, to the book being rounded off with a moving return to the country to pay tribute to the mother who encouraged him to travel — Ash Bhardwaj’s Why We Travel is an illuminating, inspiring joy.

At its heart are three principle questions — “Why do we travel? How do we do it ‘better’? Can it help us to live more fulfilling lives?” — explored and answered in the light of the fact that travel was the author’s “gateway to ideas and education”. Part moving memoir, part enthralling travelogue, it is, quite simply, an edifying must-read for readers who love to travel, and those who want to understand the world from alternate angles. 

Bhardwaj’s personal passion is infectious from the opening pages, when he shares his first experience of travel on a school rugby trip to New Zealand: “There was something intoxicating about arriving in a place that felt subtly different to home, from the font on car number-plates to the way people greeted each other. By spending time in unfamiliar environments with a new social group, I un­­covered skills and interests that I never knew I had.”

From here, Why We Travel presents answers to that question through twelve windows: Curiosity, Inspiration, Happiness, Mentorship, Serendipity, Hardship, Service, Empathy, Healing, Wonder, Eroticism and Hope, with the engaging narrative often framed in the broader context of cultural and evolutionary anthropology: “cultural evolution requires learning. Learning depends on curiosity. And curiosity makes us want to travel.”

Packed with lucid insights that cut to the core of human experience, Why We Travel will have committed travellers smiling and glowing in knowing agreement, and inspire all readers to think about travel in a fresh, life-changing light. As a taster, enjoy this glorious excerpt:“Travel allows us to encounter transcendent states of awe – when we stand on the side of a mountain, or look up at the Milky Way – and it develops the cognitive quality of wonder. This is a positive feedback loop: by tapping into wonder, and seeing the world in new ways, we become more consciously aware, and awe finds new routes into our lives.”

Joanne Owen

Star Books

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