Atonement

Though this novel would not necessarily be considered a “travel novel” by the normal reader, I think it has an interesting fiction element of travel. The main thing I have noticed so far that is really clear is that not only does travel change you, but it also sometimes requires a very deep concentrated motivation to keep going.

If you haven’t read the book (or seen the movie), it’s a story about Robbie Turner and Cecilia Tallis and their love that endures through some pretty trying situations. (Spoilers ahead) Briony, Cecilia’s younger sister, accuses Robbie of raping the Tallis’ cousin. This sends Robbie to jail. Cecilia knows the accusation is false and tells Robbie to “come back to [her].” While in jail, they continue to pass letters and she tells him this again and again.

World War II starts, and Robbie is enlisted to clear his name. This sends him on a journey not only across Europe but also trying to get back to Cecilia. It’s not crazy to think his travels might not always have been inspirational and full of hope and promise, as many travel writers experience.

I think it’s definitely an interesting way to start this topic. I’ve never thought about travel needing a lot of motivation. However, after reading this, I’ve realized that traveling might not always be fun. I guess that’s something easily forgotten. Even travel that’s not just driving home for the holidays could be stressful or difficult. Maybe you’re going somewhere you’re not eager to be, but you feel obligation. Maybe you thought you were excited but slowly it wears off.

I’m curious to see as I read further if other stories include this feeling of doubt or disenchantment.

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