Selected authors’ observations
on the “gifts of travel”
Part I – Dec 25, 2014
Part II – Jan 01, 2015
On this season’s Christmas and New Year’s Day, I have selected from a few of the twenty-five “classic” travel books that I reviewed this year. I am asking, what do some of the best travel writers, past and present, have to say about the gifts of travel?
Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad is one of the highest-selling travelogues of all time. After discussing, pontificating, and observing his and fellow pilgrims’ 134–day cruise to Europe and the Middle East in 1867, Twain concludes:
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 can not [sic] be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Italian Journey is a memorable picture of Italy at the end of the eighteenth century. Italian Journey portrays Goethe’s joy and struggle to satisfy his intellectual curiosity and commitment to understanding art. “With great objects [of art] around,” he said, the purpose of his trip was “to learn and to improve myself ere I am forty years old.” It is travel as the giver of priceless knowledge. Like Twain, Goethe concludes:
In order to form an idea of the highest achievements of the human mind, the soul must first attain to perfect freedom from prejudice and prepossession.
Merry Christmas – Greetings of the Season – Happy New Year!
Tucker Cox – Zeteo contributing writer
References – photos courtesy of Bing Images