We have spent the past few evenings re-watching the 6 discs of the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition. Both watching the movies and reading the books are the best way I know of taking a voyage while seated in your own lounge room. Through the incredible imagery of Tolkien you are there with Frodo and the other protagonists in a richly detailed world with a long history, sharing their joy and their suffering.
But Frodo's journey across Middle Earth is not a holiday. It is a quest, a journey with a purpose and a sense of satisfaction and achievement at the end. Many, if not most, of the travel books (not including guidebooks) that I have been reading over the years involve individuals on some sort of quest, be it to ride a bike across Russia, walk the Great Wall or visit the four compass points of China, even to visit all the places where his father has lived and worked. Most involve the travellers roughing it in cheap accommodation and becomming involved with the locals.
When I think about my own journeys I realise that they have not been quests; no structure, no common themes, no end goals other than to enjoy the trip. The exception was my railway journey around Victoria where my goal was to travel the maximum distance possible along each of the Victoria country railway lines. I even "roughed it" in a tent, though I also interspersed camping out with comfortable nights in a proper bed at a relative's house.
Of course, ordinary holidays probably do not make for good reading, but I do wonder if our own travel could be made more satisfying by sme sort of quest. Something to think about.