My Favorite Quotes about Travel

May 23, 2010 at 11:41 pm 2 comments

“Travel should rub off Local Prejudices and provide an enlarged and impartial view of Men and Things.” Josiah Tucker, author of the first American travelers’ handbook (1757)

“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality and, instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” Samuel Johnson

“The world is a great book…they who never stir from home read only a page.” St. Augustine

“The advantage of travel…was by seeing a great deal of both men and manners it taught us mutual toleration, and mutual toleration…taught us mutual love.” Laurence Sterne

“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” Moorish proverb

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.I travel for travel’s sake.The great affair is to move.” Robert Louis Stevenson

“Traveling is one of the saddest pleasures in life. Crossing unknown countries, hearing people speak a language you scarcely understand, and seeing human faces without any relation to your past or with your future, means solitude without repose and isolation without dignity.” Mme. de Stael

“A traveller. I love his title. A traveller is to be reverenced as such. His profession is the best symbol of our life. Going from…toward; it is the history of every one of us. It is a great art to saunter.” Henry David Thoreau

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” James Michener

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things–air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky–all things tending toward the eternal or what we imagine of it.” Cesare Pavese

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Mark Twain

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” Maya Angelou

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

“I felt the beginning of a passion, hopeless in the long run, but very nourishing, for identifying myself with people who were not my own, and whose lives were governed by ideas alien to mine.” V. S. Pritchett in A Midnight Oil

No matter how you travel, how ‘successful’ your tour, or how foreshortened, you always learn something and learn to change your thoughts.” Jack Kerouac, in Satori in Paris

“Until you have wasted time in a city, you cannot pretend to know it well.” Julian Green

“…is this not in fact the purpose of young Americans going abroad? To make them think of things they never thought of?” Isabel in Le Divorce (by Diane Johnson)

“That’s the glory of foreign travel, as far as I am concerned. I don’t want to know what people are talking about. I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.”  Bill Bryson

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. ~ Miriam Beard

“Just to travel is rather boring, but to travel with a purpose is educational and exciting.” Sargent Shriver

“What can you do to become a real tourist, where pleasure is rooted to the art of learning and discovery? The attraction of real travel always touches the pain of realizing how little you know about yourself and the obliterating fact that so much has occurred here before your life and even your country’s life was added to the ranks of history. How do we get back that consciousness?” David Applefield (from “Become a True Tourist” 4/6/99, francofile chronicles

“The end of all our exploring/Will be to arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time.” T. S. Eliot (from Four Quartets: Little Gidding 1942, V).

“The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.” Thomas Paine

Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor and teacher of writing and literature based in Silver Spring, Maryland.  She teaches literature courses in Paris and Hawaii for the Education Abroad program at Queens College, CUNY, and twice a year she offers Writing from the Heart workshops in a beautiful little village in the Champagne region of France.

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