The Art of Travel

Alain de Botton’s girlfriend and traveling companion in Barbados and the Lake District. M. spends much of their vacation in Barbados reading on the beach before the couple gets in a heated argument over dessert at a restaurant. Their conflict dredges up underlying issues in their relationship, and although they make up later that evening, this incident proves to de Botton that the serenity promised by vacation and aesthetic pleasure he finds in Barbados are ultimately contingent on his fulfilling more fundamental, psychological needs (like the health of his relationship).
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M. Character Timeline in The Art of Travel

The timeline below shows where the character M. appears in The Art of Travel. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: On Anticipation
Expectations vs. Reality Theme Icon
The Receptive Self Theme Icon
...more rewarding to suggest that it is primarily different.” When he lands in Barbados with M., his travel partner, he immediately notices “a revolution in the climate” and realizes that actually... (full context)
Expectations vs. Reality Theme Icon
As M. and de Botton sit outside their beach hut later that morning, M. begins to read... (full context)
Expectations vs. Reality Theme Icon
Near the end of their trip, de Botton and M. drive around Barbados and stop in an enormous colonial mansion that has been converted to... (full context)
Chapter 5: On the Country and the City
Expectations vs. Reality Theme Icon
The Receptive Self Theme Icon
Planning to take an afternoon train out of London, de Botton meets M. in Euston Station, where he finds it “miraculous” that he can find her in the... (full context)
Art, Travel, and the Search for Happiness Theme Icon
The Receptive Self Theme Icon
De Botton and M. arrive at their mediocre hotel and wondered about an owl they hear outside the window.... (full context)
Expectations vs. Reality Theme Icon
The Receptive Self Theme Icon
...would have this healing effect, and turns back to his own trip, when he and M. eat breakfast in their hotel while their landlord promises that the pouring rain will stop.... (full context)
The Receptive Self Theme Icon
...and a pair of swans that moved nearby. After the rain passed, de Botton and M. hear a group of birds calling out and then see another, a black-eared wheatear, fly... (full context)
Art, Travel, and the Search for Happiness Theme Icon
The Receptive Self Theme Icon
After three days, M. and de Botton head back to London and notice the very temporary character of nature’s... (full context)
The Receptive Self Theme Icon
De Botton had a “spot of time” too, when he and M. ate chocolate bars near Ambleside and he noticed a group of trees with stunning “health... (full context)
The Familiar and the Foreign Theme Icon
Art, Travel, and the Search for Happiness Theme Icon
Beside a lake near where de Botton and M. stayed, Wordsworth saw daffodils “dancing in the breeze” and kept them alive as a spot... (full context)