Renowned philosopher and writer, Alain de Botton, will take the main stage at Airbnb Open this November in Paris. Known as the “philosopher of everyday life,” Alain’s work challenges and equips us to embrace the spirit of adventure at the heart of traveling.
We hope you’ll be inspired by Alain’s reflection below on why venturing out is so powerful for hosts, and why gathering together at Airbnb Open can transform the way you approach hosting, travel, and even your own purpose.
“When you set off on a journey, it can help to be as clear as you can about what you’d ideally want to get out of your wanderings. Good trips should be transformational and their effects long-lasting, but in order to be so, we should take a moment—in the departure lounge or at home the night before, when the suitcases are packed—to reflect on what we really want to derive from heading out into the world.
And if we’re the ones welcoming the other rather than venturing out, it is our empathy and understanding of the journey that informs how we host. Airbnb Open has been carefully designed as an occasion to get in touch with the values of being a host, and to gather with a warm, curious, lively and like-minded community, to refresh one’s sense of purpose. It should also be plain good fun.
This gathering should foster a genuine sense of community: hosts will feel themselves to be part of a global family, and will have a sense of being understood and appreciated by others facing all the same joys and occasional challenges. Most hosts have their busiest season from May to October, so the Open is to be thought of as a celebration after a period of very hard work; think of it almost as a sort of Harvest Festival, where the lessons of the months just gone by can be shared and celebrations can unfold in an atmosphere of trust and friendship.
The summit aims to lay out a raft of new ideas about how the hosting experience can go as well as possible, so that 2016 should begin with a sense of being refreshed and re-energised. We’re invited to see Paris beyond the monuments and to explore what a satisfying journey can really be. There’ll be 225 different tours and experiences of Paris on offer, which will grant hosts a sense of ‘belonging anywhere’. What underlies all these tours is a theory of how much there is to do beyond the normal tourist itinerary – and therefore what opportunities there are for Airbnb to redefine what a good travel experience really is.
I personally look forward to seeing you at Airbnb Open and offering every attendee a copy of my book, The New Art of Travel, with a Foreword by Brian Chesky. That the company should have invited someone like me seems a deeply intriguing sign of just how imaginative and left-field (in a good way) Airbnb continues to be. This is a company that recognizes how many opportunities there are once we start to get properly ambitious about what travel could be. The adventure is still very much only at the beginning.”