In Motion

The Experience of Travel

By Tony Hiss

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The award-winning author of The Experience of Place returns to planning themes with In Motion: The Experience of Travel, now in a paperback edition from APA Planners Press.

This intriguing book starts with the idea that travel gives us "open-sesame" moments when we suddenly see even familiar surroundings with fresh eyes. The experience — Tony Hiss calls it Deep Travel — can happen whether we're on a trek through the Khyber Pass or a trip to the mailbox. With stories of his own journeys and passages from celebrated travel writers, he makes the transcendental experience come alive.

Simple techniques can unlock this hidden dimension, and planners can use these heightened perceptions to shape the built and natural environments. In Hiss's mind-opening account, ordinary landscapes — highways, train tracks, intersections — become as extraordinary as the first human settlements or the most dazzling and renowned streetscapes.

In Motion opens new paths of understanding for urban and regional planners, architects and landscape architects, and everyone else involved in creating transportation systems and public spaces. It's a journey worth taking.

With a new foreword by Robert D. Yaro.


Chapter 1

About the Author

Tony HissTony Hiss has written 13 books, including the award-winning The Experience of Place. His bookshave explored subjects as varied as train travel, Hunanese cooking, giant pandas, photography, the story of his family and both the landscape and the future of New York City and its region. He was a staff writer at The New Yorker for more than 30 years. He also has written from The New York Times, Newsweek and Travel + Leisure. He was a Visiting Scholar at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. The National Recreation and Park Association's Literary Award praised Hiss for a lifetime of "spellbinding and poignant" writing about "how our environments, modes of travel, and other aspects of the American landscape affect our lives."

In Motion is Tony Hiss's 13th book. His other titles include The Experience of Place: A New Way of Looking at and Dealing with our Radically Changing Cities and Countryside (1990); The View of Alger's Window: A Son's Memoir (2010); and Building Images: Seventy Years of Photography at Hedrich Blessing (2000).

In the News

In Motion: The Experience of Travel
Design Observer, April 7, 2011

Cornerstones: Building Communities That Last
Orton Family Foundation Blog, February 17, 2011

A Story Curled Inside
Harvard Magazine, January-February 2011

In Motion: The Experience of Travel
Orion Magazine, November/December 2010

In Motion: The Experience of Travel
The Christian Science Monitor, November 17, 2010

The Exchange: Tony Hiss on Deep Travel
The New Yorker, November 16, 2010

In Motion: The Experience of Travel
New York Journal of Books, October 2010

Tony Hiss Finds the Everyday Extraordinary
Publishers Weekly, September 13, 2010

(Reviews from 2010–2011 refer to the hardcover edition)

Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
June 1, 2012
APA Planners Press

Table of Contents

Deep Travel

Beyond the Turnstile

The Second Leap

A Sense of Time

Time Pioneers

Longer "Nows" and Larger "Heres"

The "Other Points" of Travel

"Tell Me Where It Is Gone"

From Lucy to the Moon

Origin of the Wandering Ape

The First Human Gift

Notes for "A Short History"

The Legacy of Awareness




"Long occupied with matters of design, environment and regional planning, Hiss turns his attention to a parallel journey that sharpens our perceptions, altering space — creating a larger 'here' — and time — extending it, making a larger 'now.'"

Kirkus Reviews

"The Experience of Place has gone on to become a modern-day classic ... In his new book, In Motion: The Experience of Travel, Hiss revisits his earlier technique: Take a proposition that appears intuitive, then slowly tease out its implications for the way we live now, and how we should live going forward. 'Deep Travel' begins with the assumption that when we take a trip, something sublime can change the way we perceive the world ... Hiss takes the principle a step further, arguing that this same sense of transformation — what he calls 'Deep Travel' — can also be enjoyed in the more modest trips we take every day: running to the store, commuting to work, walking within our own neighborhoods . . . In search of source material, Hiss embarks on his characteristically ambitious survey of science and the humanities, quoting everyone from Lewis Thomas to Thomas Mann, Henry David Thoreau to E.O. Wilson, Copernicus to 'Bugs Bunny' director Chuck Jones ... In Motion is itself an example of the author's recurring point—that the mind can even travel deeply when its owner is at rest."

—Danny Heitman, The Christian Science Monitor

"Crowded airplanes and their lack of customer service, packed subway cars on a hot day, and daily commutes to and from work that take longer now on average than at any other time in history add up to much frustration with travel itself. Hiss (The Experience of Place) suggests, however, that all of us have an innate capacity to enter a different part of our minds during our travels and to begin to make use of an awareness that has its own range of interests, concerns, and methods. When the mind and not just the body is in motion, our experience of our ordinary world changes, and we can look with new eyes on the details of the world around us as we walk to the local coffee shop. Hiss urges us to embrace the innermost dimension of travel (its ability to lift the wings of the human spirit) as a way of transforming our time spent in motion."

—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"In Motion is a brilliant, mind-opening book that will change how you see your world. Tony Hiss takes you to places that are both out there and inside your own mind, and offers a strikingly new perspective on such basic questions as 'What makes us human?' and 'Why do we explore?' I recommend that you read it before you take another step."

—Andrew Weil, M.D.

"The high excitement of In Motion comes from the way Tony Hiss can present so much cutting-edge information in a pattern that creates a fuller and more articulate understanding of what we are. His reporter's nose for a good story combines with a tremendous breadth and depth of vision; the result is both fun and mind-altering, a real eye-opener, a changer of consciousness. It's a book not only to read but to live."

—Kim Stanley Robinson

"I found In Motion absolutely fascinating: well researched, well written, and very readable. I read it in London, and found it affected how I experienced a familiar but unfamiliar place. The capacity Hiss describes had the effect of pointing out to me something that had been right in front of my eyes all the time without my noticing it. Such an interesting and important book."

—Lisa Alther, author of Kinflicks