Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…

DSC04169-1024x768Mark Twain wrote the above in The Innocents Abroad, a travel book published in 1869 detailing his excursion by boat to Europe and the Holy Land.

Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder a part of experience.

That one is by Francis Bacon.

My traveling started late. Too poor, too introverted, and too anxious to do the traditional year of “backpacking around Europe” between high school and college (which, to be honest, is really only done by rich white kids anyway), I found my traveling legs only after securing meaningful employment. Which, of course, restricts the number of days off for traveling. Eventually I did get to travel, with my first excursion like Mark Twain’s, albeit in the opposite direction – I went to Asia. The culture shock was good for me, opening my eyes to the vast differences, and equally vast similarities, between my monochromatic upbringing and my new world view.

Another quote attributed to Mark Twain is:

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.

I concur. I’ve had some opportunities I’ve passed up, including watching the annual 4th of July fireworks from the World Trade Center towers many years ago; that opportunity is gone forever. I’ve visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and felt too rushed to wait in line to climb the tower itself; chances are I’ll never be back. I regret not doing those things. But I can’t recall too many things I did that I regret. They didn’t always work out well, but the experience is a memory for life.

Such is the elixir of life. Travel. Climb the tower. Drive the gravel roads, and the curvy roads, and the non-roads. See the world, and live the life.

David J. Kent is the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, in Barnes and Noble stores now. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

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