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The crew from Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft and the climbing crew from Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster share certain commonalities, especially when it comes to their passion for high adventure. The crew members break the mold when it comes to ordinary thrill-seekers. These men and women are not just common weekend warriors whose idea of fun is to leave the comfort of their sub-urban homes in order to pitch a tent in well-manicured parks. For them, it is more than just traveling long distances in order to enjoy the sun and beaches of coastal regions. In the Mt. Everest and Kon-Tiki expeditions, people were eager to pursue goals that could easily cost them their lives, and that is the price that most weekend warriors would not even dare to contemplate. The journalist that was sent to cover the Mt. Everest quest proved it best when he said, “attempting to climb Everest is an intrinsically irrational act – a triumph of desire over sensibility” (Krakauer, 1997, p. 4).
Upon closer examination, the members of the sea and the mountaineering expedition differ when it comes to the motivation that empowers their respective journeys. In the case of the Kon-Tiki expedition, the crew was motivatd by the desire to prove a certain theory about ancient explorers and how islands in the Pacific were populated through sea exploration. This motivation significantly differs from that of the members of the mountaineering quest, who had personal ambition and the desire to test one’s physical limits.
By saying that “the road is life”, Jack Kerouak stresses the power of road travels in the life of people. This statement also highlights the way in which the road connects people from different walks of life. The road paves the way for chance encounters and meet-ups that change the lives of men and women forever. In the book On the Road, the author described how his friendship blossomed with his friend, a man named Moriarty, and how that relationship was linked to road travels (Kerouac, 2012). In addition, the expression “the road is life” is related to the social activities that are linked to the road. For example, when the author was traversing Route 66, he had a wonderful time eating an apple pie and ice cream. He also met the strangers on the road that transformed his life. Thus, Kerouak meant that he felt alive when he was travelling.
In the Art of Travel, Alain de Botton linked the man’s desire for happiness and his propensity for travel (Botton, 2002). According to him, the urge to travel is rooted in the desire to experience happiness. It is not difficult to understand this motive, however, the author went even further when he said that people were bombarded with ideas that they should travel without having a philosophical understanding of why they should do so (Botton, 2002). Thus, it reminds readers that there is a need for a philosophical framework to appreciate the value of travel. This particular insight gives credence to Botton’s claim that it is important to examine people’s motives for travel, because the psychological or philosophical component of travel affect the way people experience their time away from work and ordinary routines of life. Jack Kerouac, for example, highlighted the liberating power of travel and adventure, meaning that there are those who travel in order to feel free. At the same time, the underlying reason that motivates the climbers of Mt. Everest fills climbers a sense of achievement. These people have a clear understanding why they need to risk life and limb in climbing the greatest mountain on the planet. Thus, it is evident that the motives for travel directly affect people’s experience if they know exactly what they want to get from their trip.
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