Traveling has become a routine to us, we want to see as much of the world in the least time possible. While this surely is a legitimate opinion, we have also forgotten how to really experience stuff during traveling. We hurry ourselves from sight to sight, trying to not miss anything. After all, we usually book holidays for no longer than a week or two, since we also have responsibilities at home. But what do you really take away from those journeys? If you really want to take away something during your travels, you need to take your time and you need a system. Because traveling is an art and this art is called Apodemica.
The Grand Tour
The Renaissance age was a golden age of humanism and the arts, and education became more important. Young people during this age searched for a way to “refine” themselves after they were finished with their main branch of education. So, many of those young men and women went on a so called “Grand Tour” to get an idea about how the world outside their hometown looked like.
Nowadays, such a Grand Tour can be compared to an Erasmus semester or an Interrailing tour. Only back in this period, traveling was not easy, it was expensive and in many areas dangerous. For many young people going on a Grand Tour, it was the only time they could go to a faraway country in their life. So of course they wanted to make the most out of their tour as possible.
Many books about traveling were written and consulted in this era. They were in some part like early travel guides, but they didn’t really focus on the sights or the To-Dos in a foreign country. They rather focused on the philosophical aspects of traveling and how it could be used to learn something yourself and how to behave in other countries. These books were called Ars Apodemica literature, which was Latin for: The Art of Traveling.
Despite nowadays this kind of literature seeming kind of old, I think we can still learn at least some things from the Apodemica literature. For example, that traveling isn’t just about relaxing, but there’s so much more about going to other countries. Like the English Apodemica writer and philosopher Francis Bacon pointed out: “Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education, in the elder, a part of experience.”. We all can still learn something from going on journeys, so we also should be aware of the fact that there’s more to traveling than we think.