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The Idle Traveller: The Art of Slow Travel

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  669 ratings  ·  73 reviews
As we jet off on holiday, passing from airport lounge to hotel in our desperation to escape our everyday lives and find some better weather, we'd do well to ask ourselves what on earth we're doing. Do we really travel any more, or do we just arrive? This book calls on us all to reassess why we travel and what travel has become. ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published July 1st 2012 by Automobile Association (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  669 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Sep 12, 2013 rated it liked it
I thought this was quite an uneven, patchy book. I use the term book but it was more like a very long essay - it didn't feel particularly tight, and while certain themes tied the chapters together I thought the structure was too loose and lacking in clarity and direction. I didn't find the narrative voice particularly compelling, I noticed some clunky writing in parts (mixed metaphors and attempts at aphorisms that didn't resonate with me) and the author relied far too heavily on secondary sourc ...more
Traveling Diva
I thought this book would be a discussion on slow travel, and to some degree it was. The elements that matched my expectations were enjoyable to read, but on the whole I found the book to be disorganized and in parts the language was a bit clunky. There was noticeable overuse of the word "literally", often appearing where it was really unnecessary. Where it could be accepted in speech, especially in British English, it is used without effect frequently in this book.

In addition to that, the tone
Mar 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel-general
I have a feeling Mr Kiernan and I would not get on! We'd disagree about pretty much everything.
He would have nothing but scorn for me, as I am apparently a 'tick box tourist'. Yes, I commit the heinous crime (in his eyes) of researching a new place I am visiting and then actually going to some of the places listed as 'must sees'.
Even worse, I actually enjoy doing this!
I suppose the only good thing is that I am never going to be sat next to Mr Kiernan on a long flight - he never goes near an
18th book for 2017.

After reading this book I can see that I already fall within what Kieran would call the Slow Travel camp so I am naturally setup to like this book.

I found the writing of his own experiences charming, particularly the stories about his own children. However, the book is somewhat spoilt by a sense of smugness/quasi-mysticism that his writing exudes at times, as well as his repeated, long, digressions into secondary sources.

If he had stuck to writing about his own experiences th
Lee Osborne
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I picked this up just before spending a long weekend in London, so it was an appropriate read given that I was travelling somewhere (ironically by plane, which isn't really in keeping with the philosophy of the book).

I've long been familiar with the idle/slow philosophy that the author advocates, and also have never been a fan of mass tourism or package holidays, so while the book appealed to me for encouraging a different attitude to travel, it didn't really teach me anything new. I've never be
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Kieran feels that the point of travel these days is to get to your destination as fast as humanly possible, to collect picture of yourself in front of the sights, and tick them of your bucket list.

This book that is about the essence of travel, the journey to a location and the time that you need to take in making that journey. In the book he describes a simple walk that he takes in his part of the Sussex downs, a rail journey across Europe with his very young son, and a almost disastrous journey
May 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
I had mixed reactions to this book. It's readable and well written, and I learned a few interesting things by reading it. However, I was a bit put off by its limited scope. Practically all the travel is confined to Europe or even the UK. This is part of the author's point - you don't have to go far to have new experiences. Indeed, part of his argument is that we have surrounded ourselves with things that reduce the scope of our experiences, rather than broaden them (e.g. smartphones), and we can ...more
Oct 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
What I learned:

- To truly discover a place you should always try and be your own guide: work it out for yourself, go with the flow, go on your own journey.
- Slowing down is meditative. Taking the time to reflect, to think and to take things in is important. By physically slowing down, our perception of time also changes.
- Doing something you wouldn't normally do and going out of your comfort zone gets the right hemisphere of the brain working (the creative side). This can help you become more lu
This is a high 3 stars, more like 3.75!

This book has a little bit of everything: a zen-like master teaching us to move to the slow lane in life and not rush through things, when you're traveling and in life. I'm a bit of an idle traveler who makes lists, which usually get thrown out the first minute I land somewhere and my eyes and attention are diverted in a million different directions. This was a nice, slow read, I just wish there was more about his travel experiences rather than educating h
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Some of the neuroscience lost em a little but this exploration of the benefits of slow travel, as opposed to tourism, chimed with me. Inspirational read - got me out walking on my own and planning other journeys within days of finishing it.
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Keegi ütles selle raamatu kohta väga tabavalt: If you pick up this book for the travel stories, you will be disappointed. If you approach this book to consider the philosophy of travel, you will be greatly pleased.

Ma olin pleased.
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobby
Interesting in parts. Too much secondary referencing , creating disjointed rhythm to the writing.
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Took me a little while to get into it, but was definitely worth it. Enriching, fun and covers a broad spectrum of subjects.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel
There’s a lot of value in Kieran’s (perhaps not so original) ideas about ‘slow travel’ but he takes quite a hard line, with little room for compromise. Yes, reading literature set in the location you’re visiting can make for a more meaningful trip but isn’t there also a place for a standard guidebook? Personally, I think there’s a place for both. If there’s something really outstanding in a place I visit, I do want to try to see it, even if it isn’t featured in whatever local literary narrative ...more
Interesting idea and some compelling stories. Flavoured with smugness that his way of travel is what all of us should be doing.

I was intrigued to read about an appreciation for travel and visits to new places where the traveller can take their time and enjoy the new experiences. But according to the author, that is at odds with the type of travel "encouraged" by guidebooks that list the top 10 sights to see.

Explaining his disdain for tourism that encourages sightseeing, using the example of the
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great book to read if you are interested in getting more out of travel and life. I find the slow movement so fascinating as it is the opposite of what our culture tells us to "strive for". Instead be in the now to truly experience life. The inclusion of discussions of other books and authors in the 2nd half of the book made it my favorite part and why I'd read this book again. I look forward to reading the books by the mentioned authors. For instance, funny how we focus on Poe's dark stories i ...more
Stefano Zanella
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Don’t get mistaken by the title, this is a book about traveling only on the surface. Slow traveling is a thread that puts together inspiring reflections on life, and Dan Kieran is a master in making the journey through his mind feel coherent and pleasant.

I usually judge the quality of a book from the books it inspires me to read after it, and from the conversations that can start from reading it. This reading definitely excels in both aspects.
Lucy S
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Yes yes yes. This is now a kind of bible for me. I feel like it’s woken me up to so many philosophies I already believed in, but that had been buried, or I’d forgotten them somehow. It voiced them in a way I’ve not been able to do before, and it’s inspired me to act on them.

And Dan Kieran is such a brilliant companion - I could not put this down.

Ryan Watts
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I was expecting a pretentious read and I got it. I would read more of Kieran's work, but I would not buy him a pint. ...more
Although falls off a bit at the end wonderful premise which I fully endorse. Good to be reminded.
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Starts well by setting the scene for a Slow Travel philosophy. Gets a bit tedious by chapter 2.
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
It wasn't what I expected but I still enjoyed it. ...more
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fittingly, this book felt like a nice chill out with a coffee.
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
The best thing about this book is the Introduction by Tom Hodgkinson, which has a style and a depth that surpasses the book itself.
Connie Robinson
Mar 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021-read
Want to read again when I'm less distracted. Found it hard to concentrate despite being very accessible.
Will read again when I'm travelling next myself.
Outi Sillanpää
Apr 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Vanessa Princessa
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Хора, които искат да пропътуват света, но не знаят правилния начин!,

*Short english review, this one is going to be written in bulgarian!*

This book blew my mind and it was totally not on purpose! When you start to read these books that everyone talks about you have expectations. When I saw this one, I was a bit skeptical. We`ve all read these books who teach us of the art of yoga/zen/shopping and etc. in magazines and to be honest they all suck a little or too much.

This one is a BEAUTIFUL EXCEPTION! It covers topics from different aspects
Nov 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book caught my attention during one of the recent promotional sales of a local publisher in Bulgaria (Ciela Books). As I was not able to pick it up in Bulgarian (due to unforeseen circumstances out of my control...) I finally figured out it is best to save some trees, get a Kindle edition and read it in English. I am not sorry on that part.

I shall say I entered a routine of getting slightly different thing from a book than my preliminary expectations on the last two books I read. I hope thi
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Read this on a series of trains - the best place to do so! I agree with so much of Kieran's thinking here, and really appreciate the level of research and references that have gone into making this so much more than a "how to" manifesto.

Took a little umbrage at some aspects though - had I been among the friends who went to the wedding in Poland, I most certainly would have loved to get there as the author did, via train, but sometimes life just does not allow that amount of time. I feel lucky t
Ferhat Culfaz
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Splendid book on the art of travelling. It's about the journey, not the destination. Takes a good dig against air travel and airports in general, and how by choosing a slower way, such as land, trains and ferries, the mind appreciates the surroundings more and thus enables though, reflection and contemplation. This becomes a therapeutic and meditative process. One should not just look at a guide book, go to "must see" sights and take their photos like a checklist, but rather go off the beaten tr ...more
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Dan Kieran is Deputy Editor of The Idler, a bi-yearly British magazine. He is a writer, editor, and CEO and co-founder of the crowd-funding publishing platform Unbound.

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