The Art of Zen Travel


Program Description:

This presentation is focused on travel and learning. Not so much learning about where to travel but rather how to travel and how to learn through travel. Alain de Bottom in his book the Art of Travel captured this idea by explaining: "If our lives are dominated by a search for happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dynamics of this quest---in all its ardour and paradoxes—than our travels. They express, however inarticulately, an understanding of what life might be about, outside the constraints of work and struggle for survival. Yet rarely are they considered to present philosophical problems—that is, issues requiring thoughts beyond the practical. We are inundated with advice on where to travel to, but we hear little of why and how we should go, even though the art of travel seems naturally to sustain a number of questions neither so simple nor so trivial, and whose study might in modest ways contribute to an understanding of what the Greeks Philosophers beautifully termed eudaimonia, or ‘human flourishing’." It will provide the opportunity for the audience to comprehend the central role of travel in national/international cross-cultural understanding, and to help people understand how travel can serve as a mechanism for cultural understanding and personal transformation. The goal is to help those in attendance see the vitality in themselves and to respect the power of reflection. What we learn together can affect eternity; there is no telling where the influence of our shared learning begins or ends.


Robert Robertson

Robert Robertson, Ph.D., U. of Illinois, is an associate professor of tourism planning and development at the University of New Hampshire. His research interests include the social impacts of the development of commercially viable ground fish aqua culture industry in the Northeast, non point pollution management practices in the Oyster River Watershed, public policy, and environmental sociology.

Other topics offered by Robert Robertson