Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Idle Traveller: The Art of Slow Travel” as Want to Read:
The Idle Traveller: The Art of Slow Travel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Idle Traveller: The Art of Slow Travel

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  628 ratings  ·  69 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.
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published July 1st 2012 by Automobile Association (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Idle Traveller, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Idle Traveller

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  628 ratings  ·  69 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Idle Traveller: The Art of Slow Travel
Jonny
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
...more
Penny
Mar 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel-general
3.5
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
...more
Radiantflux
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
...more
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
...more
Paul
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
...more
John
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
danjonesdj
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
...more
Chris
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
...more
Annalise
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.
Timo
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.
Wayne
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.
Eli
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.
Ben
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
Karen
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.
Dogsandbooks
Although falls off a bit at the end wonderful premise which I fully endorse. Good to be reminded.
Karen
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.
Hannabaumann
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
It wasn't what I expected but I still enjoyed it.
Billy
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fittingly, this book felt like a nice chill out with a coffee.
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!,
5 WELL-DESERVED STARS!!!

*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
...more
Elena
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
...more
Samantha O'Leary
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
...more
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
Frances
Apr 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
This is an unusual travel book, written by a travel writer who doesn't fly. He argues the case for depth of travel experience over tick-box tourism, for the need to take time to fully appreciate the moment rather than rushing to the next thing on our itineraries, to appreciate the journey as well as the destination.
Tales of his own travel experiences are entertaining (as are his musings on philosophical, historical and even neurological subjects, though these parts are not always easy to follow
...more
Florian Blümm
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Art of Slow Travel is a very mixed bag.

First Dan Kieran starts out very promisingly He makes you think about travel from a different perspective and his theory about the distinction between vacation and travel is the best I've heard so far.

But in the second half of the book he rambles on about excruciatingly boring examples and non sequitors.

If this was a 100 page book instead of a 200 page book, this would be a 5 star review.
Adam Mills
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hardback
Really interesting, intriguing book. Makes you think and consider the modern reliance on air travel. Dan makes it all sound so simple, despite the book being filled with historical knowledge and great stories.
Ann Thomas
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Not just a book of stories about his escapades travelling the slow way, though it does have those. More a slow examination of what it means to travel, to savour life and people and places instead of rushing by. Very thought-provoking.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Лейди Гергана
  • The Book of Idle Pleasures
  • Folk med ångest
  • How to Give Up Plastic: A Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time
  • Митове и истини за храненето
  • Бабо, разкажи ми спомен
  • Книга за мечтатели: Тънка червена нишка
  • Вещиците от Витоша (Софийски магьосници, #3)
  • The Big Five for Life
  • French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork, and Corkscrew
  • The Art of Travel
  • Стопанката на Господ
  • The Way of The Iceman: How The Wim Hof Method Creates Radiant Longterm Health--Using The Science and Secrets of Breath Control, Cold-Training and Commitment
  • Безкрайна нощ
  • North Korea Confidential: Private Markets, Fashion Trends, Prison Camps, Dissenters and Defectors
  • Жажда
  • The Moving Body
See similar books…
13 followers
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.

Related Articles

You might know comedian Colin Jost from his work as the co-anchor of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, or perhaps you know him as Scarlett Joha...
13 likes · 1 comments
“Ehkäpä joutilaan matkailun paras muoto on yksinäinen kävelyretki. Sen avulla ihminen voi löytää todellisen vapauden vähäisin kuluin ja omistautua unohdetulle ajanvietteelle: ajattelulle. Suuri osa nykyaikaisesta matkailusta on suunniteltu nimenomaan ajattelua estämään.” 0 likes
“Olipa niin tai näin, vasemman aivopuoliskon havainto maailmasta ja sen järjestyksenhalu on epäilemättä nykyjan länsimaailmassa karanneet käsistä.” 0 likes
More quotes…