I spent the first Saturday of 2020 reading The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton on my Kindle while enjoying several bowls of Luxury Bulleye Flake in several of my favorite pipes throughout the afternoon.
After several days of rain, it was nice to see the sun make an appearance bringing with it cooler temperatures and a crisp breeze.
The Art of Travel was an interesting read to me. The author combines his thoughts on travel and relates them to famous travelers of the past. He writes in an engaging prose which kept me engaged. I can also relate to his observations on travel which was a bonus.
The key point that I got from the book was the differences between our imagined world of travel and what we find when we actually engage in it. The thought of flying off to some exotic location versus the reality of airport parking, TSA lines, crowded or delayed flights and the let down we sometimes get from the reality of the locations we've dreamed about or only experienced through pictures or the writing of others.
We find in the book that this is something that has occurred to travelers for many years. Some travelers acknowledge the fact in their writings while to others it is avoided and the locale remains dreamy or perfect to their readers. Today I equated this to the travelblog posts on Instagram where the weather always seems perfect, locations are never crowded and around every corner is another picture. We don't usually see the less savory parts of the day such as traffic jams, less than ideal hotels or foods that don't match our tastes. I realize lots of the travelbloggers are sponsored by the hotels or locations they visit and part of their "job" (and future gigs) is to present them in their best light. That doesn't make it reality though.
de Botton does a great job of giving the entire picture in the essays on his travels. He discusses how even in the most exotic of locations, we still can be blogged down by thoughts of the work or world we left behind. I know that happens to me. Even on vacation, thoughts of work creep in and I think about what will be waiting for me when I return to the office. When that happens, I have two choices:
I'll admit, I've been guilty of the first one quite often in the past and sometimes I can't get it out of my head. One of my goals (I hate that word) for 2020 is to focus more on the present and enjoy it while I can. Today, that means reading a good book, enjoying one of my favorite tobaccos and sipping on a nice drink. Work will still be there Monday morning.
I'll be reading more by the author as I work towards reading 100 books this year and will be sharing reviews of some of them here.
Luxury Bullseye Flake by Peter Stokkebye is a delightful blend of Virginias and Perique, with a touch of black Cavendish — thinly sliced into neat bullseye coins.
The coins can either be folded into larger pipes or broken up into a ribbon and smoked in smaller ones. I prefer to use larger pipes as during the smoke you can taste the different component tobaccos as they burn in succession. The perique doesn't overwhelm the Virginia and the Cavendish gives just a hint of extra sweetness. It can be purchased in bulk and I always keep it in my normal rotation.
You can read some reviews about it on Tobacco Reviews and see what others have to say about this classic blend.