Issue I - To Travel

A travel newsletter exploring travel itself. The history, philosophy, poetry, and art of travel.

Issue I - To Travel
"This creed of the desert seemed inexpressible in words, and indeed in thought" - T. E. Lawrence

This week is a special one. What we'd like to try through the newsletter is a more contemplative look at what travel is, what it used to be, and perhaps where it's going. We also want to hear from you! What are you interested in learning about when it comes to travel, exploring, and seeing the world around us?


Exploring travel on canvas.

René Magritte - The Human Condition

The Human Condition by René Magritte (1933)

Why this painting?

Surrealist painter, René Magritte often created more questions than answers with his paintings, but this one struck me as a good opener to this month's newsletter. Titled, The Human Condition.

I think we all find ourselves at some point looking out at the world and trying to capture or recreate its beauty, but we can never quite reproduce it – not authentically at least. The true or pure option is to put down the paintbrush (or remote) and head out into the world ourselves. But Magritte had a different idea:

At first, one automatically assumes that the painting on the easel depicts the portion of the landscape outside the window that it hides from view. After a moment's consideration, however, one realizes that this assumption is based upon a false premise: that is, that the imagery of Magritte's painting is real, while the painting on the easel is a representation of that reality. In fact, there is no difference between them. Both are part of the same painting, the same artistic fabrication. It is perhaps to this repeating cycle, in which the viewer, even against his will, sees the one as real and the other as representation, that Magritte's title makes reference.

I think this can be allegorical to travel itself. When we find ourselves in a new place or strange land, it can be hard to know what is authentic or a representation or – as Magritte would want us to consider – is there even a difference?