The idea of a travelling mindset is wonderfully clearly described in Jean Sprackland’s poetic Strands
Gilbert White spent a lifetime observing and studying the wildlife in none single parish – Selbourne in Hampshire – which covered just a few thousand acres, and the French classic A Journey Around My Room is an account of forty-two days the author Xavier de Maistre, spends exploring his own small living space while under house arrest. Both books cover very little ground, geographically speaking; but both writers approach their subject with what Alain de Botton calls the ‘ travelling mindset’, which is characterised by curiosity and receptivity. ‘If only we could apply a travelling mindset to our own locales,’ he says, ‘we might find these places becoming no less interesting than the high mountain passes and jungles of South America.” pg. xii
“I’m embarking on […] discovery not as a naturalist, a historian or a geologist, but as an ordinary walker. I’m setting out, armed with curiosity rather than expertise, to pay a different kind of attention to what I see. I hope to cut through the blur of familiarity, and explore […] place as if for the first time. Some of my find[ing]s may be real surprises, and others more predictable; but I shall pick them up and hold them to the light, regardless. pg. xiii
It’s the way I approach boating, constrained by circumstances to physically travelling only a short distance, I’m taking each experience and holding it up to the light – fascinated and curious. And this attentiveness is providing me with an opportunity to embark on a remarkably vivid internal journey.