Mindful Passages in Travel and Travel Writing


Contemplative Practice Fellowships


English and Comparative Literature


This course on travel literature, which has previously stressed the traveler-writer’s persona, newly emphasizes “passage,” the physical movement from place to place. Paying undivided attention to passage can be a contemplative practice, an instance of focusing on present circumstances rather than wished-for destinations. Two passage-related features are added: travel texts by walkers, bicyclists, and drivers who foreground passage over destination; and an assignment to students to use their daily commute as a laboratory on passage. They are to stop multi-tasking, stop asking “Are we there yet?” in favor of noting the physical conditions of their travel; they will record their efforts in a passage-journal. By combining these two features, this course invites students’ integration of academic and real-life experiences.