QUOTES: ADVENTURE

The only thing that beats an adventure of a lifetime is a lifetime of adventure.
-Gideon Lasco, www.pinoymountaineer.com

“The only question in life is whether or not you are going to answer a hearty ‘YES!’ to your adventure.”
— Joseph Campbell

“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”
– T.S Eliot

“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

“Always remember, it’s simply not an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.”
-Sarah Ban Breathnach

“A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints.”
— Wilfred Peterson

“And the day came when the wish to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
— Anais Nin

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Adventure isn’t hanging on a rope off the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day to day obstacles of life.”
— John Amatt

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TRAVEL: Why You Should Stop Traveling Alone

You should stop traveling alone.

Not because it’s dangerous. Your level of danger when you’re out in the wind has little to do with the number of travelers in the group and a lot to do with where you go and the choices you make.

Not because it’s lonely. Solitary travelers meet other solitary travelers easily. As long as you’re in a place with a guesthouse or a hostel you can find someone to join you at least on day trips. When I traveled on the Trans-Mongolian Railway or across Southeast Asia I made new friends nearly every day.

No, you should stop traveling alone because traveling with people you know is a better way. The best part of travel comes from the actual travel itself. That’s the most exciting aspect. The second best part of travel comes in the reward of talking about the trip for years after it’s over.

Sure you become Facebook friends with your fellow lonely travelers from Austria and New Zealand and Finland, but how often are you going to see those people again in your life, if ever? You took pictures and videos of swimming in Lake Baikal with the two Italians and you tell your friends about them, but wouldn’t it be better if it were your friends with you in the first place? People from the life you’ll go back to?

Trust me, I know getting your friends to come with you can be a problem. They have their jobs, their finances, their lack of available time. Most of us want to go before we get too old. We go when we can and often we can’t wait.

But if you have a choice, take someone with you. It’s harder to meet people when you’re already with someone, but if you’re friendly, and fun, you can still join other groups or have them join yours. Of course the wrong person can ruin the place for you forever. Take that risk. It’s worth it. The right person will help the experience live between you. They’ll push you to travel farther, to experience more.

It’s easy to be lazy when you’re on your own. You can get scared or sick or just plain exhausted. Having a friend to help you, to push you, heightens the experience. If you’re good together you’ll be able to do what you want and also what the other person wants, which will take you beyond yourself, to new places. And that’s what you want from traveling anyway.

I’m starting to know more and more people who say, “I’m not traveling by myself anymore.” They all seem to agree on the same things, that it’s too lonely, that their experiences have become secrets that only they know, that while they were traveling alone the first time they thought “it would be great if this person or that person was here” and then they said that the second and third time they were on their own, until their resolve to do it with another person finally stuck.

Traveling alone is useful at first — you learn that if you want to be alone your whole life you could, and then you realize how awful that would be. You reach a point where you realize it’s only good if it’s shared.

What A Life Of Travel Does To You


photo by: MANGO RED

What A Life Of Travel Does To You
By: Alex Brueckner

A life of travel is a good thing to have. But once you start off on it, there’s no looking back. What traveling does do to you is work its way inside of you, changing you completely as it finds a seat deep within you. It’s a parasite with a greedily voracious appetite. That bastard is hungry. Once the travel bug bites, you’re afflicted for life. Once the wanderlust hits, your feet never stop being restless.

It creeps into the edges of your mind. You start clicking through Facebook albums from past trips to Peru or China or Ghana. You find yourself browsing WikiTravel or Intrepid Travel, concocting perfect two-month tours of Africa or South America. Idly, you check Orbitz to see how much a flight next month is to Cambodia. Just for the hell of it. Just in case. It never hurts to know, right?

The temptation is always there just to take off work, drop everything, and go. And once you have a trip on the books, it’s inevitable that you eyes creep toward a calendar during any spare moment and instinctually count down the days until you can flee. There’s a constant itch that gets under your skin, and the only way to scratch it involves a plane (or train or bus) ticket, a backpack, and plans that don’t go beyond “just get me out.”

Our heroes are people like Anthony Bourdain, who makes a living (and a life) out of trekking to the furthest corners of the map. We like stumbling through sentences in foreign languages like kindergarteners. We feel proud when we can get through three weeks in Eastern Europe on a single backpack or successfully navigate through the tricky back alleys of a new city. We get thrills during the moment that a plane takes off from the runway or a bullet train pulls out of the station. We get off on eating foods that contain things we’ve never tried before, let alone heard of. We love filling out those “where I’ve been” maps and seeing just how much of the world we’ve covered.

For those who make traveling a lifestyle, the fear of putting down permanent roots is always present. Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson has said, “Speed has never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary, that’s what gets you.” He may have been talking about supercars, but I think the philosophy applies just as well to traveling, too. If you’re constantly moving, whether it’s on the back of a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh City, a vespa in Firenze, or a kayak down the rapids on the Rio Grande, suddenly hitting the brakes can be absolutely devastating. It’s a constant fear that I’ve hit my “peak” and that I’ll spend the rest of my life wanting to travel and being unable to. Instead of actually getting out to see the sun rise in Goa, I’ll have to settle for a picture I found on Google as my laptop background.

When I returned home to Pittsburgh from living in Germany, my mum remarked to me, “We’ll have to nail your feet down to keep you stateside, won’t we?” And it wasn’t a week later that I told my parents I wanted to move to Japan after graduation to teach English. I’m lucky, and I know it. The job I have right now basically allows me to travel as much as I want; I may officially be an “Assistant Language Teacher,” but if I had it my way, “globetrotter” would be front and center on my résumé.

One of my favorite quotes about traveling is “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” It sums up perfectly just why I love globetrotting so much. Once you start, you can never truly finish. There’s always more to see, more to explore, more summits to climb, more seas to dive into, more cities to get lost in. Germany was the first foreign country I set foot in. I could travel there every summer for the rest of my life; I’d never see it all.

For the hardcore travelers, our sustenance lies in those perfectly surreal moments that you just stumble upon by mistake. They’re moments that, when you seen them in a movie or hear other people reminisce about them, seem utterly fake. Their very perfection takes away from their realness. If there were a Shutterstock for traveling experiences, it would catalogue those impossibly perfect moments.

But when it’s you experiencing them, you can’t help but grin to yourself and feel a certain gleeful shiver work its way through you. My favorite, but by no means solitary, example of such a moment happened in Paris last summer. I was walking through an arcade near the Louvre, turned a corner, and then was greeted by a busker playing the cello set against the backdrop of the setting sun reflecting through the Louvre pyramid’s glass. That right there is something straight out of a Woody Allen movie.

As scared as I am that I’ll lose the means to travel, I think I know in the back of my head that I’ll never let it truly happen. Wanderlust doesn’t just die from disuse or neglect. Get a camel, a hot air balloon, a pair of snowshoes, a hang glider, a sled pulled by dogs… if you want to get out, you’re getting out.

Why You Should Travel Young

WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL YOUNG
Jeff Goins

Image

As I write this, I’m flying. It’s an incredible concept: to be suspended in the air, moving at two hundred miles an hour — while I read a magazine. Amazing, isn’t it?

I woke up at three a.m. this morning. Long before the sun rose, thirty people loaded up three conversion vans and drove two hours to the San Juan airport. Our trip was finished. It was time to go home. But we were changed.

As I sit, waiting for the flight attendant to bring my ginger ale, I’m left wondering why I travel at all. The other night, I was reminded why I do it — why I believe this discipline of travel is worth all the hassle.

I was leading a missions trip in Puerto Rico. After a day of work, as we were driving back to the church where we were staying, one of the young women brought up a question.

“Do you think I should go to graduate school or move to Africa?”

I don’t think she was talking to me. In fact, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t. But that didn’t stop me from offering my opinion.

I told her to travel. Hands down. No excuses. Just go.

She sighed, nodding. “Yeah, but…”

I had heard this excuse before, and I didn’t buy it. I knew the “yeah-but” intimately. I had uttered it many times before. The words seem innocuous enough, but are actually quite fatal.

Yeah, but …

… what about debt?

… what about my job?

… what about my boyfriend?

This phrase is lethal. It makes it sound like we have the best of intentions, when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards while sounding noble.

Most people I know who waited to travel the world never did it. Conversely, plenty of people who waited for grad school or a steady job still did those things after they traveled.

It reminded me of Dr. Eisenhautz and the men’s locker room.

Dr. Eisenhautz was a German professor at my college. I didn’t study German, but I was a foreign language student so we knew each other. This explains why he felt the need to strike up a conversation with me at six o’clock one morning.

I was about to start working out, and he had just finished. We were both getting dressed in the locker room. It was, to say the least, a little awkward — two grown men shooting the breeze while taking off their clothes.

“You come here often?” he asked. I could have laughed.

“Um, yeah, I guess,” I said, still wiping the crusted pieces of whatever out of my eyes.

“That’s great,” he said. “Just great.”

I nodded, not really paying attention. He had already had his adrenaline shot; I was still waiting for mine. I somehow uttered that a friend and I had been coming to the gym for a few weeks now, about three times a week.

“Great,” Dr. Eisenhautz repeated. He paused as if to reflect on what he would say next. Then, he just blurted it out. The most profound thing I had heard in my life.

“The habits you form here will be with you for the rest of your life.”

My head jerked up, my eyes got big, and I stared at him, letting the words soak into my half-conscious mind. He nodded, said a gruff goodbye, and left. I was dumbfounded.

The words reverberated in my mind for the rest of the day. Years later, they still haunt me. It’s true — the habits you form early in life will, most likely, be with you for the rest of your existence.

I have seen this fact proven repeatedly. My friends who drank a lot in college drink in larger quantities today. Back then, we called it “partying.” Now, it has a less glamorous name: alcoholism. There are other examples. The guys and girls who slept around back then now have babies and unfaithful marriages. Those with no ambition then are still working the same dead end jobs.

“We are what we repeatedly do,” Aristotle once said. While I don’t want to sound all gloom-and-doom, and I believe your life can turn around at any moment, there is an important lesson here: life is a result of intentional habits. So I decided to do the things that were most important to me first, not last.

After graduating college, I joined a band and traveled across North America for nine months. With six of my peers, I performed at schools, churches, and prisons. We even spent a month in Taiwan on our overseas tour. (We were huge in Taiwan.)

As part of our low-cost travel budget, we usually stayed in people’s homes. Over dinner or in conversation later in the evening, it would almost always come up — the statement I dreaded. As we were conversing about life on the road — the challenges of long days, being cooped up in a van, and always being on the move — some well-intentioned adult would say, “It’s great that you’re doing this … while you’re still young.”

Ouch. Those last words — while you’re still young — stung like a squirt of lemon juice in the eye (a sensation with which I am well acquainted). They reeked of vicarious longing and mid-life regret. I hated hearing that phrase.

I wanted to shout back,

“No, this is NOT great while I’m still young! It’s great for the rest of my life! You don’t understand. This is not just a thing I’m doing to kill time. This is my calling! My life! I don’t want what you have. I will always be an adventurer.”

In a year, I will turn thirty. Now I realize how wrong I was. Regardless of the intent of those words, there was wisdom in them.

As we get older, life can just sort of happen to us. Whatever we end up doing, we often end up with more responsibilities, more burdens, more obligations. This is not always bad. In fact, in many cases it is really good. It means you’re influencing people, leaving a legacy.

Youth is a time of total empowerment. You get to do what you want. As you mature and gain new responsibilities, you have to be very intentional about making sure you don’t lose sight of what’s important. The best way to do that is to make investments in your life so that you can have an effect on who you are in your later years.

I did this by traveling. Not for the sake of being a tourist, but to discover the beauty of life — to remember that I am not complete.

There is nothing like riding a bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge or seeing the Coliseum at sunset. I wish I could paint a picture for you of how incredible the Guatemalan mountains are or what a rush it is to appear on Italian TV. Even the amazing photographs I have of Niagara Falls and the American Midwest countryside do not do these experiences justice. I can’t tell you how beautiful southern Spain is from the vantage point of a train; you have to experience it yourself. The only way you can relate is by seeing them.

While you’re young, you should travel. You should take the time to see the world and taste the fullness of life. Spend an afternoon sitting in front of the Michelangelo. Walk the streets of Paris. Climb Kilimanjaro. Hike the Appalachian trail. See the Great Wall of China. Get your heart broken by the “killing fields” of Cambodia. Swim through the Great Barrier Reef. These are the moments that define the rest of your life; they’re the experiences that stick with you forever.

Traveling will change you like little else can. It will put you in places that will force you to care for issues that are bigger than you. You will begin to understand that the world is both very large and very small. You will have a newfound respect for pain and suffering, having seen that two-thirds of humanity struggle to simply get a meal each day.

While you’re still young, get cultured. Get to know the world and the magnificent people that fill it. The world is a stunning place, full of outstanding works of art. See it.

You won’t always be young. And life won’t always be just about you. So travel, young person. Experience the world for all it’s worth. Become a person of culture, adventure, and compassion. While you still can.

Do not squander this time. You will never have it again. You have a crucial opportunity to invest in the next season of your life now. Whatever you sow, you will eventually reap. The habits you form in this season will stick with you for the rest of your life. So choose those habits wisely.

And if you’re not as young as you’d like (few of us are), travel anyway. It may not be easy or practical, but it’s worth it. Traveling allows you to feel more connected to your fellow human beings in a deep and lasting way, like little else can. In other words, it makes you more human.

That’s what it did for me, anyway.

Dr. Seuss: Oh The Places You’ll Go!

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
by Dr. Seuss

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off the Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets.  Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don’t worry.  Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.

OH!
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted.  But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out?  Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO!
That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored.  there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame!  You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t.
Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

So…
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

NOTE: I think Dr. Seuss is one of the most genius writers ever. His wisdom can be applied to any age. I love, love, love him!

NOTE2: March 2 is his birthday. So, Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss. You may be gone, but your words will live forever.

NOTE3: His birthday was the adopted date for National Read Across America Day, an initiative on reading created by the National Education Association.

Why We Travel

photo from http://www.recruiterpoet.com

WHY WE TRAVEL
Pico Iyer

We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again — to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more. The beauty of this whole process was best described, perhaps, before people even took to frequent flying, by George Santayana in his lapidary essay, “The Philosophy of Travel.” We “need sometimes,” the Harvard philosopher wrote, “to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure hazard, in order to sharpen the edge of life, to taste hardship, and to be compelled to work desperately for a moment at no matter what.”

I like that stress on work, since never more than on the road are we shown how proportional our blessings are to the difficulty that precedes them; and I like the stress on a holiday that’s “moral” since we fall into our ethical habits as easily as into our beds at night. Few of us ever forget the connection between “travel” and “travail,” and I know that I travel in large part in search of hardship — both my own, which I want to feel, and others’, which I need to see. Travel in that sense guides us toward a better balance of wisdom and compassion — of seeing the world clearly, and yet feeling it truly. For seeing without feeling can obviously be uncaring; while feeling without seeing can be blind.

Yet for me the first great joy of traveling is simply the luxury of leaving all my beliefs and certainties at home, and seeing everything I thought I knew in a different light, and from a crooked angle. In that regard, even a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet (in Beijing) or a scratchy revival showing of “Wild Orchids” (on the Champs-Elysees) can be both novelty and revelation: In China, after all, people will pay a whole week’s wages toeat with Colonel Sanders, and in Paris, Mickey Rourke is regarded as the greatest actor since Jerry Lewis.

If a Mongolian restaurant seems exotic to us in Evanston, Ill., it only follows that a McDonald’s would seem equally exotic in Ulan Bator — or, at least, equally far from everything expected. Though it’s fashionable nowadays to draw a distinction between the “tourist” and the “traveler,” perhaps the real distinction lies between those who leave their assumptions at home, and those who don’t: Among those who don’t, a tourist is just someone who complains, “Nothing here is the way it is at home,” while a traveler is one who grumbles, “Everything here is the same as it is in Cairo — or Cuzco or Kathmandu.” It’s all very much the same.

But for the rest of us, the sovereign freedom of traveling comes from the fact that it whirls you around and turns you upside down, and stands everything you took for granted on its head. If a diploma can famously be a passport (to a journey through hard realism), a passport can be a diploma (for a crash course in cultural relativism). And the first lesson we learn on the road, whether we like it or not, is how provisional and provincial are the things we imagine to be universal. When you go to North Korea, for example, you really do feel as if you’ve landed on a different planet — and the North Koreans doubtless feel that they’re being visited by an extra-terrestrial, too (or else they simply assume that you, as they do, receive orders every morning from the Central Committee on what clothes to wear and what route to use when walking to work, and you, as they do, have loudspeakers in your bedroom broadcasting propaganda every morning at dawn, and you, as they do, have your radios fixed so as to receive only a single channel).

We travel, then, in part just to shake up our complacencies by seeing all the moral and political urgencies, the life-and-death dilemmas, that we seldom have to face at home. And we travel to fill in the gaps left by tomorrow’s headlines: When you drive down the streets of Port-au-Prince, for example, where there is almost no paving and women relieve themselves next to mountains of trash, your notions of the Internet and a “one world order” grow usefully revised. Travel is the best way we have of rescuing the humanity of places, and saving them from abstraction and ideology.

And in the process, we also get saved from abstraction ourselves, and come to see how much we can bring to the places we visit, and how much we can become a kind of carrier pigeon — an anti-Federal Express, if you like — in transporting back and forth what every culture needs. I find that I always take Michael Jordan posters to Kyoto, and bring woven ikebana baskets back to California; I invariably travel to Cuba with a suitcase piled high with bottles of Tylenol and bars of soap, and come back with one piled high with salsa tapes, and hopes, and letters to long-lost brothers.

But more significantly, we carry values and beliefs and news to the places we go, and in many parts of the world, we become walking video screens and living newspapers, the only channels that can take people out of the censored limits of their homelands. In closed or impoverished places, like Pagan or Lhasa or Havana, we are the eyes and ears of the people we meet, their only contact with the world outside and, very often, the closest, quite literally, they will ever come to Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton. Not the least of the challenges of travel, therefore, is learning how to import — and export — dreams with tenderness.

By now all of us have heard (too often) the old Proust line about how the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new places but in seeing with new eyes. Yet one of the subtler beauties of travel is that it enables you to bring new eyes to the people you encounter. Thus even as holidays help you appreciate your own home more — not least by seeing it through a distant admirer’s eyes — they help you bring newly appreciative — distant — eyes to the places you visit. You can teach them what they have to celebrate as much as you celebrate what they have to teach. This, I think, is how tourism, which so obviously destroys cultures, can also resuscitate or revive them, how it has created new “traditional” dances in Bali, and caused craftsmen in India to pay new attention to their works. If the first thing we can bring the Cubans is a real and balanced sense of what contemporary America is like, the second — and perhaps more important — thing we can bring them is a fresh and renewed sense of how special are the warmth and beauty of their country, for those who can compare it with other places around the globe.

Thus travel spins us round in two ways at once: It shows us the sights and values and issues that we might ordinarily ignore; but it also, and more deeply, shows us all the parts of ourselves that might otherwise grow rusty. For in traveling to a truly foreign place, we inevitably travel to moods and states of mind and hidden inward passages that we’d otherwise seldom have cause to visit.

On the most basic level, when I’m in Thailand, though a teetotaler who usually goes to bed at 9 p.m., I stay up till dawn in the local bars; and in Tibet, though not a real Buddhist, I spend days on end in temples, listening to the chants of sutras. I go to Iceland to visit the lunar spaces within me, and, in the uncanny quietude and emptiness of that vast and treeless world, to tap parts of myself generally obscured by chatter and routine.

We travel, then, in search of both self and anonymity — and, of course, in finding the one we apprehend the other. Abroad, we are wonderfully free of caste and job and standing; we are, as Hazlitt puts it, just the “gentlemen in the parlour,” and people cannot put a name or tag to us. And precisely because we are clarified in this way, and freed of inessential labels, we have the opportunity to come into contact with more essential parts of ourselves (which may begin to explain why we may feel most alive when far from home).

Abroad is the place where we stay up late, follow impulse and find ourselves as wide open as when we are in love. We live without a past or future, for a moment at least, and are ourselves up for grabs and open to interpretation. We even may become mysterious — to others, at first, and sometimes to ourselves — and, as no less a dignitary than Oliver Cromwell once noted, “A man never goes so far as when he doesn’t know where he is going.”

There are, of course, great dangers to this, as to every kind of freedom, but the great promise of it is that, traveling, we are born again, and able to return at moments to a younger and a more open kind of self. Traveling is a way to reverse time, to a small extent, and make a day last a year — or at least 45 hours — and traveling is an easy way of surrounding ourselves, as in childhood, with what we cannot understand. Language facilitates this cracking open, for when we go to France, we often migrate to French, and the more childlike self, simple and polite, that speaking a foreign language educes. Even when I’m not speaking pidgin English in Hanoi, I’m simplified in a positive way, and concerned not with expressing myself, but simply making sense.

So travel, for many of us, is a quest for not just the unknown, but the unknowing; I, at least, travel in search of an innocent eye that can return me to a more innocent self. I tend to believe more abroad than I do at home (which, though treacherous again, can at least help me to extend my vision), and I tend to be more easily excited abroad, and even kinder. And since no one I meet can “place” me — no one can fix me in my rsum –I can remake myself for better, as well as, of course, for worse (if travel is notoriously a cradle for false identities, it can also, at its best, be a crucible for truer ones). In this way, travel can be a kind of monasticism on the move: On the road, we often live more simply (even when staying in a luxury hotel), with no more possessions than we can carry, and surrendering ourselves to chance.

This is what Camus meant when he said that “what gives value to travel is fear” — disruption, in other words, (or emancipation) from circumstance, and all the habits behind which we hide. And that is why many of us travel not in search of answers, but of better questions. I, like many people, tend to ask questions of the places I visit, and relish most the ones that ask the most searching questions back of me: In Paraguay, for example, where one car in every two is stolen, and two-thirds of the goods on sale are smuggled, I have to rethink my every Californian assumption. And in Thailand, where many young women give up their bodies in order to protect their families — to become better Buddhists — I have to question my own too-ready judgments. “The ideal travel book,” Christopher Isherwood once said, “should be perhaps a little like a crime story in which you’re in search of something.” And it’s the best kind of something, I would add, if it’s one that you can never quite find.

I remember, in fact, after my first trips to Southeast Asia, more than a decade ago, how I would come back to my apartment in New York, and lie in my bed, kept up by something more than jet lag, playing back, in my memory, over and over, all that I had experienced, and paging wistfully though my photographs and reading and re-reading my diaries, as if to extract some mystery from them. Anyone witnessing this strange scene would have drawn the right conclusion: I was in love.

For if every true love affair can feel like a journey to a foreign country, where you can’t quite speak the language, and you don’t know where you’re going, and you’re pulled ever deeper into the inviting darkness, every trip to a foreign country can be a love affair, where you’re left puzzling over who you are and whom you’ve fallen in love with. All the great travel books are love stories, by some reckoning — from the Odyssey and the Aeneid to the Divine Comedy and the New Testament — and all good trips are, like love, about being carried out of yourself and deposited in the midst of terror and wonder.

And what this metaphor also brings home to us is that all travel is a two-way transaction, as we too easily forget, and if warfare is one model of the meeting of nations, romance is another. For what we all too often ignore when we go abroad is that we are objects of scrutiny as much as the people we scrutinize, and we are being consumed by the cultures we consume, as much on the road as when we are at home. At the very least, we are objects of speculation (and even desire) who can seem as exotic to the people around us as they do to us.

We are the comic props in Japanese home-movies, the oddities in Maliese anecdotes and the fall-guys in Chinese jokes; we are the moving postcards or bizarre objets trouves that villagers in Peru will later tell their friends about. If travel is about the meeting of realities, it is no less about the mating of illusions: You give me my dreamed-of vision of Tibet, and I’ll give you your wished-for California. And in truth, many of us, even (or especially) the ones who are fleeing America abroad, will get taken, willy-nilly, as symbols of the American Dream.

That, in fact, is perhaps the most central and most wrenching of the questions travel proposes to us: how to respond to the dream that people tender to you? Do you encourage their notions of a Land of Milk and Honey across the horizon, even if it is the same land you’ve abandoned? Or do you try to dampen their enthusiasm for a place that exists only in the mind? To quicken their dreams may, after all, be to match-make them with an illusion; yet to dash them may be to strip them of the one possession that sustains them in adversity.

That whole complex interaction — not unlike the dilemmas we face with those we love (how do we balance truthfulness and tact?) — is partly the reason why so many of the great travel writers, by nature, are enthusiasts: not just Pierre Loti, who famously, infamously, fell in love wherever he alighted (an archetypal sailor leaving offspring in the form of Madame Butterfly myths), but also Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence or Graham Greene, all of whom bore out the hidden truth that we are optimists abroad as readily as pessimists as home. None of them was by any means blind to the deficiencies of the places around them, but all, having chosen to go there, chose to find something to admire.

All, in that sense, believed in “being moved” as one of the points of taking trips, and “being transported” by private as well as public means; all saw that “ecstasy” (“ex-stasis”) tells us that our highest moments come when we’re not stationary, and that epiphany can follow movement as much as it precipitates it. I remember once asking the great travel writer Norman Lewis if he’d ever be interested in writing on apartheid South Africa. He looked at me astonished. “To write well about a thing,” he said, “I’ve got to like it!”

At the same time, as all this is intrinsic to travel, from Ovid to O’Rourke, travel itself is changing as the world does, and with it, the mandate of the travel writer. It’s not enough to go to the ends of the earth these days (not least because the ends of the earth are often coming to you); and where a writer like Jan Morris could, a few years ago, achieve something miraculous simply by voyaging to all the great cities of the globe, now anyone with a Visa card can do that. So where Morris, in effect, was chronicling the last days of the Empire, a younger travel writer is in a better position to chart the first days of a new Empire, post-national, global, mobile and yet as diligent as the Raj in transporting its props and its values around the world.

In the mid-19th century, the British famously sent the Bible and Shakespeare and cricket round the world; now a more international kind of Empire is sending Madonna and the Simpsons and Brad Pitt. And the way in which each culture takes in this common pool of references tells you as much about them as their indigenous products might. Madonna in an Islamic country, after all, sounds radically different from Madonna in a Confucian one, and neither begins to mean the same as Madonna on East 14th Street. When you go to a McDonald’s outlet in Kyoto, you will find Teriyaki McBurgers and Bacon Potato Pies. The placemats offer maps of the great temples of the city, and the posters all around broadcast the wonders of San Francisco. And — most crucial of all — the young people eating their Big Macs, with baseball caps worn backwards, and tight 501 jeans, are still utterly and inalienably Japanese in the way they move, they nod, they sip their Oolong teas — and never to be mistaken for the patrons of a McDonald’s outlet in Rio, Morocco or Managua. These days a whole new realm of exotica arises out of the way one culture colors and appropriates the products of another.

The other factor complicating and exciting all of this is people, who are, more and more, themselves as many-tongued and mongrel as cities like Sydney or Toronto or Hong Kong. I am, in many ways, an increasingly typical specimen, if only because I was born, as the son of Indian parents, in England, moved to America at 7 and cannot really call myself an Indian, an American or an Englishman. I was, in short, a traveler at birth, for whom even a visit to the candy store was a trip through a foreign world where no one I saw quite matched my parents’ inheritance, or my own. And though some of this is involuntary and tragic — the number of refugees in the world, which came to just 2.5 million in 1970, is now at least 27.4 million — it does involve, for some of us, the chance to be transnational in a happier sense, able to adapt anywhere, used to being outsiders everywhere and forced to fashion our own rigorous sense of home. (And if nowhere is quite home, we can be optimists everywhere.)

Besides, even those who don’t move around the world find the world moving more and more around them. Walk just six blocks, in Queens or Berkeley, and you’re traveling through several cultures in as many minutes; get into a cab outside the White House, and you’re often in a piece of Addis Ababa. And technology, too, compounds this (sometimes deceptive) sense of availability, so that many people feel they can travel around the world without leaving the room — through cyberspace or CD-ROMs, videos and virtual travel. There are many challenges in this, of course, in what it says about essential notions of family and community and loyalty, and in the worry that air-conditioned, purely synthetic versions of places may replace the real thing — not to mention the fact that the world seems increasingly in flux, a moving target quicker than our notions of it. But there is, for the traveler at least, the sense that learning about home and learning about a foreign world can be one and the same thing.

All of us feel this from the cradle, and know, in some sense, that all the significant movement we ever take is internal. We travel when we see a movie, strike up a new friendship, get held up. Novels are often journeys as much as travel books are fictions; and though this has been true since at least as long ago as Sir John Mandeville’s colorful 14th century accounts of a Far East he’d never visited, it’s an even more shadowy distinction now, as genre distinctions join other borders in collapsing.

In Mary Morris’s “House Arrest,” a thinly disguised account of Castro’s Cuba, the novelist reiterates, on the copyright page, “All dialogue is invented. Isabella, her family, the inhabitants and even la isla itself are creations of the author’s imagination.” On Page 172, however, we read, “La isla, of course, does exist. Don’t let anyone fool you about that. It just feels as if it doesn’t. But it does.” No wonder the travel-writer narrator — a fictional construct (or not)? — confesses to devoting her travel magazine column to places that never existed. “Erewhon,” after all, the undiscovered land in Samuel Butler’s great travel novel, is just “nowhere” rearranged.

Travel, then, is a voyage into that famously subjective zone, the imagination, and what the traveler brings back is — and has to be — an ineffable compound of himself and the place, what’s really there and what’s only in him. Thus Bruce Chatwin’s books seem to dance around the distinction between fact and fancy. V.S. Naipaul’s recent book, “A Way in the World,” was published as a non-fictional “series” in England and a “novel” in the United States. And when some of the stories in Paul Theroux’s half-invented memoir, “My Other Life,” were published in The New Yorker, they were slyly categorized as “Fact and Fiction.”

And since travel is, in a sense, about the conspiracy of perception and imagination, the two great travel writers, for me, to whom I constantly return are Emerson and Thoreau (the one who famously advised that “traveling is a fool’s paradise,” and the other who “traveled a good deal in Concord”). Both of them insist on the fact that reality is our creation, and that we invent the places we see as much as we do the books that we read. What we find outside ourselves has to be inside ourselves for us to find it. Or, as Sir Thomas Browne sagely put it, “We carry within us the wonders we seek without us. There is Africa and her prodigies in us.”

So, if more and more of us have to carry our sense of home inside us, we also — Emerson and Thoreau remind us — have to carry with us our sense of destination. The most valuable Pacifics we explore will always be the vast expanses within us, and the most important Northwest Crossings the thresholds we cross in the heart. The virtue of finding a gilded pavilion in Kyoto is that it allows you to take back a more lasting, private Golden Temple to your office in Rockefeller Center.

And even as the world seems to grow more exhausted, our travels do not, and some of the finest travel books in recent years have been those that undertake a parallel journey, matching the physical steps of a pilgrimage with the metaphysical steps of a questioning (as in Peter Matthiessen’s great “The Snow Leopard”), or chronicling a trip to the farthest reaches of human strangeness (as in Oliver Sack’s “Island of the Color-Blind,” which features a journey not just to a remote atoll in the Pacific, but to a realm where people actually see light differently). The most distant shores, we are constantly reminded, lie within the person asleep at our side.

So travel, at heart, is just a quick way to keeping our minds mobile and awake. As Santayana, the heir to Emerson and Thoreau with whom I began, wrote, “There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble; it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.” Romantic poets inaugurated an era of travel because they were the great apostles of open eyes. Buddhist monks are often vagabonds, in part because they believe in wakefulness. And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.

Quotes: On Travel

image from http://www.travelblogexchange.com

“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson

“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
-John Steinbeck

“A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.”
-Moslih Eddin Saadi

“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

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”
-Bill Bryson

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference”
–Robert Frost

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

“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”
–Mark Twain

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.”
–Benjamin Disraeli

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

“What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.”
–William Least Heat Moon

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”
–Aldous Huxley

“I preferred to be eaten by the lions in Africa than by the society.”
-Jean Beliveau (The Man Who Spent 11 Years Walking Around The World)

“Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.”
–Freya Stark

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.”
-Rosalia de Castro

“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

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.”
–Clifton Fadiman

“A wise traveler never despises his own country.”
–Carlo Goldoni

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
–Marcel Proust

“The range of countries and trails and experiences on offer today means we can all be a Charles Darwin or an Isabella Bird.”
– Timeout Adventure

“I think one of the best ways to maximize your traveling experience is to live like a local and a tourist at the same time.”
-Paula Peralejo

“Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun every year.”
-Unknown

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel only read a page.”
-Saint Augustine

“The traveler is active – he goes strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive – he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes “sight-seeing”.”
-Daniel J. Boorstin

“It is not down in any map. True places never are.”
-Herman Melville

“The traveler sees what he sees; the tourist sees what he has come to see.”
-G.K. Chesterton

“We wander for distraction; we travel for fulfillment.”
-Hillaire Belloc

“But you can travel on for ten thousand miles, and still stay where you are.”
-Harry Chapin

“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

“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.”
-Samuel Johnson

“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block

“I travel light. I think the most important thing is to be in a good mood and enjoy life, wherever you are. ”
-Diane Von Furstenberg

“We travel to learn; and I have never been in any country where they did not do something better than we do it, think some thoughts better than we think, catch some inspiration from heights above our own.”
-Maria Mitchell

from BEACHED

For mine is a generation that circles the globe in search of something we haven’t tried before
So never refuse an invitation
Never resist the unfamiliar
Never fail to be polite,
and never outstay your welcome

I still believe in paradise
But now at least I know it’s not some place you can look for
Cause it’s not where you go
It’s how you feel for a moment in your life
And if you find that moment
It will last forever

FILIPINO:

“Huwag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan.” (Do not be a foreigner in your own country.)
-Susan Calo-Medina

“I traveled to every single place in the world, on my own, on a shoestring, staying with local people everywhere I went. I wasn’t mugged, I wasn’t beaten up, I wasn’t robbed. I didn’t even get ill. So if I can do it, anyone can.”
-Graham Hughes

“I think if I could do anything in my life, my one life thing is I encourage people to go travelling, and I think that is a life worth living. Because the more people travel, the more people see the world it opens their minds and makes people less prejudice, less racist. It makes people more interested in the world and everyone in it. And less selfish as well. So yeah, get people travelling. Go out there and see this wonderful planet of ours.”
-Graham Hughes

“I want to say to not judge the world, and countries of the world, by the actions of their leaders and their governments and things like this. Most people on this planet are good people, just trying to get on with their lives, and they don’t mean you any harm.”
-Graham Hughes

image from http://www.zazzle.com

Article: Travel Is Not A Contest

photo from the article: http://www.bootsnall.com

A beautiful article on traveling deep and slow. Click THIS to read it.

My favorite quotes from the article:

“Sure they get home with a lot of nice pictures, but have they accumulated much else in terms of experience, depth or personal growth?”

“You’ve heard it in the common room of every youth hostel, or bellied up to the bar your first night on that island beach in Belize, “Where have you been? How many countries have you visited?… here’s my list,” and then we set out to one-up each other. This is wrong. Travelers, especially avid travelers, tend to act like it’s a contest. Number of countries, cities, amusement parks, national monuments, museums, or wonders of the world visited is not what matters. Travel should not be about filling in that world map tattoo on your shoulder fastest. It’s not about bigger, better, or faster. Nor is it about pushing more pins into the map on your wall than your parents did. What is it about? Authenticity. Who defines that? You do. We know people who’ve gone “round the world” in three months. We know others who have goals to set foot in every country by a certain date. Still others who pride themselves on visiting the biggest, the best, or the fastest something. None of these goals is wrong, quite the contrary, what a cool idea: to spend a lifetime pursuing a big dream. The problem comes when we begin to measure ourselves, or others, by those lists. We spent a whole year cycling through ten European countries. Some people think that’s an amazing amount to see in a year. Others can’t believe we wasted all that time when we could have seen so much more. Neither opinion matters. What matters is that we did it our way, in our time, and grew according to our own passions and bents during that time and since.”

“The antidote? Rent a little casita and dig into a place where you don’t speak the language. You’ll be forced to become part of the community, and you won’t be able to go running to the hostel desk for help the next time you get stuck in some way. This is where the real learning often begins. But, to do that takes time. It won’t happen on a one or two week vacation. In our experience, it takes about a month to really settle into a place and begin to find your groove. It’s not something most people can do very often, but it’s life changing when you can. Every traveler should try to do it once, at least. Going deep instead of wide can change your life.”

“I remember thinking, “You guys have taken a lot of picture postcards, but have you actually been anywhere?”

“Perhaps the most important life skill to develop is presence, whether we ever leave our hometowns or not. To learn to be in a moment, to experience it, for better or for worse, fully, without distraction is a worthwhile goal.”

“The three countries and five cities in fourteen days tour is going to make it almost impossible to truly be present in any one moment for very long. Slowing down, trying to “see less” and “be more,” is an excellent way to develop presence in your journey. Most people would say that one of the reasons they travel is to learn. Learning happens in layers. We learn from the outer onion skin of guidebooks and websites, we go deeper by visiting museums and cultural events. Very few take the time to go even deeper by developing connections with locals, relationships with individuals or roles in communities.”

“It’s completely possible to check a place off your list and really have never “been there” at all”

“If it’s all about the contest then I can almost guarantee that a person has barely breached the outer layer of the onion. There’s just no substitute for setting aside travel agendas and itineraries in exchange for interactions with real people who make up a culture. Take the necessary time, at least once in this lifetime, to slow down, to learn, to digest, and allow a new place to change who you are, from the inside out. Isn’t this why we begin traveling in the first place?”