“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you travelled.” – Mohammed
The reason I work in the travel industry is because I truly think that it is a force for good (and I suppose staying at luxury hotels around the world is always quite fun). Travel, perhaps even more so than formal education, teaches, explains and opens your mind to the many different lives being lived. To experience a place, its people, its history and its stories, can help you to understand things which previously didn’t make any sense, and which seemed so foreign.
From the time of classical antiquity, those who have travelled far from home have always been associated with knowledge and wisdom. Throughout history adventurers and explorers have set out on epic journeys and returned, often years later, laden with tales of discoveries that those at home could only dream of; everything from spices and jewels to architectural styles, works of art, different religions and technological inventions. They also (nearly always) came home with a widened horizon, and an appreciation and understanding of the different, the exotic, the other.
However, even in 2014, when there is so much digital sharing (of everything with everyone), misunderstandings between different cultures and countries remains the cause of so much violence, terror and destruction. If those writing foreign policy, films, books and news knew more about the people who are classified as ‘enemies’, and their worlds, this might not be the case. It’s no coincidence that much acclaimed and award-winning travel writer, William Dalrymple, recently briefed a team at the White House on Afghanistan’s turbulent history. His latest book, The Return of the King, an account of Britain’s first (failed) attempt to control this incredibly misunderstood foreign land, was the product of years of research and travel in and around the Middle East, and has made him one of the most knowledgeable figures on the East, in the West.
I could go on and on about how travel is one of the best ways to combat racism, narrow-mindedness and intolerance, but the reality is that many have said this before me, and in much more concise and elegant forms. Therefore, I’ve collected my top ten travel quotes below; happy reading, and, of course, happy travelling!
1. “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
2. “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
3. “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Scott Cameron
4. “Hitler didn’t travel. Stalin didn’t travel. Saddam Hussein never traveled. They didn’t want to have their orthodoxy challenged.” — Howard Gardner
5. “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
6. “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
7. “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharal Nehru
8. “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
9. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine
10. “Paris is always a good idea.” – Audrey Hepburn
Have I missed any of your favourite travel quotes? If so, share them below!
Cover photo courtesy of www.lovethispic.com