Posts tagged ‘travel’



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

Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad (1869)

Note: This quote was submitted by Anna Harris


a beacon

As I begin this last paragraph, outside my window a misty afternoon drizzle gently but inexorably soaks the City of London. Down there in the street I can see umbrellas commiserating with each other. In Sydney Harbor, 12,000 miles away and 10 hours from now, the yachts will be racing on the crushed diamond water under a sky the texture of powdered sapphires. It would be churlish not to concede that the same abundance of natural blessings which gave us the energy to leave has every right to call us back… Pulsing like a beacon through the days and nights, the birthplace of the fortunate sends out its invisible waves of recollection. It always has and it always will, until even the last of us come home.

Clive James, Unreliable Memoirs (1980)



I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)


the travel writer

The travel writer seeks the world we have lost—the lost valleys of the imagination.

Alexander Cockburn, “Bwana Vistas,” in Harper’s (1985)


strong and content

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, / Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms, / Strong and content I travel the open road.

Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road” (1856)


a consummate ass

The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become, until he goes abroad.

Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad (1869)



Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.

Paul Theroux, quoted in Observer (1979)


railway termini

Railway termini…are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return.

E. M. Forster, Howard’s End (1910)


finding familiar things

What affects men sharply about a foreign nation is not so much finding or not finding familiar things; it is rather not finding them in the familiar place.

G. K. Chesterton, Generally Speaking, “On Flags” (1928)


set foot

The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.

G. K. Chesterton, “The Riddle of the Ivy,” Tremendous Trifles (1909).


ego v. the world

A part, a large part, of travelling is an engagement of the ego v. the world…The world is hydra headed, as old as the rocks and as changing as the sea, enmeshed inextricably in its ways. The ego wants to arrive at places safely and on time.

Sybille Bedford, “The Quality of Travel,” in Esquire (1961)


a man must travel

What should I have known or written had I been a quiet, mercantile politician or a lord in waiting? A man must travel, and turmoil, or there is no existence.

Lord Byron, letter to the poet Thomas Moore (1820)


high time

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul…then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

Herman Melville, Moby Dick (1851)



Before it’s too late, without thinking too much about it first, pack a pillow and a blanket and see as much of the world as you can. You will not regret it. One day it will be too late.

Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake (2004)

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