It is apt that over the holidays The Travelling Bookbinder enjoyed reading a diverting history of spending leisure time abroad, so this book review – Tourists – is the first of 2023.
From The Grand Tour to virtual tours, Lucy Lethbridge guides us along a fascinating timeline of travel, focusing on the particular (and not always flattering) traits of the British tourist….
My favourite chapter begins:
‘It would have been almost unthinkable for a nineteenth-century tourist to travel abroad without notebooks, pens and sketching materials.’
Of course these items still take priority in my luggage – yours too?!
In Little Dorrit, Dickens mentions ‘travelling pencils innumerable’ with which visitors sketch and write. Travel diaries take many forms; spare or elaborate, fragments or full-to-bursting, with tickets, maps, shopping lists, drawings and bus timetables.
There is also exciting mention of the humble postcard, that were produced and sent in startling numbers. Heaven.
Lucy examines the significance of the souvenir. It’s a tangible proof of passage – you journeyed, and returned, bearing presents for those left behind, or mementos by which to remember the trip.
The Travelling Bookbinder takes you on an adventure of creative tourism. Each course is a niche experience. Each person responds, records and produces a book which is a snapshot of exactly that time and place.
The author focuses on the collecting of souvenirs in this article.