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The Art of Travel

Sir Francis Galton

Book Overview: 

The Art of Travel is a handbook of practical advice for the adventure seeking Victorian. We hear how to organize all steps of a voyage, from the very beginnings (qualifications of a traveler, how to organize an expedition, the perfect outfit), to the actual trip (how to choose a bivouac, huts and tents, what game to shoot - and how, dealing with (hostile) savages), until the final, hopefully successful, return of the traveler (arranging memorandum).

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Bells were attached to the necks of the horses most apt to stray; but the clappers were tied up with a piece of thong, to keep them quiet on the march; and were loosened at night, so that the sound might guide us in searching for them next morning.

"We watched two hours each during night; the morning watch boiled the water, and woke the rest at four. We made our breakfast of tea or coffee, damper, and pork, which we ate raw, and went out for the horses; which were generally saddled up, and on the move, before sunrise. We travelled till one or two, when we led the horses to water, looked to any sores that might be caused by the pressure of their saddles, dressed them and altered the stuffing of the saddle to give them relief, and, after dinner, which was rather a brief ceremony, had the rest of the day for scientific or artistic pursuits,--that is, if something else did not require immediate attention. We could never trust to our guns for provision, as . . . Read More

Community Reviews

My enjoyment of this book was shallow but immense. Anyone with a soft spot for Victorian rhetoric and Charles Darwin's cousin would enjoy it. It is, sadly, abridged for modern publication.

This book is a product of its time, so it is "politically incorrect" by modern sensibilities. Now, with that disclaimer finished, this book was a joy to read. Every page flipped (or in my case, clicked) would lead to something new to think about it. For instance, where else are you going to learn...more

Best advice I received from this book? When travelling through Africa, you'll need about 15 soldiers, 150 porters, and an entire herd of cattle.

Astonishing what manual and other skills explorers needed in the 19th century. Galton's book, a bestseller in that period, goes into a wealth of detail, which is unintentionally funny in parts. DIY fans would be fascinated.

Fascinating. I absolutely felt transported reading through this tutorial on how one must approach an exotic expedition. Much of the advice was not relevant to today--obviously--but it was interesting. From a historical perspective.

The modern presentation was a nice way to increase accessibility,...more