Marco Polo & Beyond...

“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 ~

Old San Juan - Puerto Rico

Old San Juan - Puerto Rico

The opening quote is quite intriguing to me. It also confirms the worldly knowledge obtained from traveling… cultures, religions, convictions, etc.

I believe Mark Twain also said (and I paraphrase):

“If you never leave your own country, you never got past chapter one.”

As my own desire for extended travel continues its thought provoking ways, I marvel at those who made a lifestyle of gallivanting around the globe before me. Call it what you want… sightseeing, voyaging, navigating, trekking, expedition, etc… I’ve become fond of the terms Wanderlust and/or Vagabonding.

So much so, I recently read the book Vagabonding - An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term Travel by Rolf Potts for a better understanding of the restless soul. It’s an incredibly thought provoking book and leaves plenty of ideas to ponder. A few wanderlust seeds have been planted in the creative side of my brain. Now I’m hoping the right side can figure out the financing and logistics!

The author defines Vagabonding as:

(1) The act of leaving behind the orderly world to travel independently for an extended period of time. (2) A privately meaningful manner of travel that emphasizes creativity, adventure, awareness, simplicity, discovery, independence, realism, self-reliance, and the growth of the spirit. (3) A deliberate way of living that makes freedom to travel possible.

Statistically, it’s the 18-35 year old age group that treks for extended periods of time. It’s logical that young folks take a gap year between high school and college or take a year off between college and the real world. It’s simple math… no responsibilities = where do you want to go?

Youth is wasted on the young… as my dad use to say.

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Many a travel book has been written over the years. Some modern day classics would include; The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain, On the Road by Jack Kerouac and A Walk In the Woods by Bill Bryson. Before the choir chimes in, I’m sure there are plenty others worthy of mention, but I’ll keep a short list for simplicity sake.

One of the all-time classics from yesteryear would surely include; Livres des Marveille du Monde or The Travels of Marco Polo… published around the year 1300. It covers the 17 year old as he logs 15,000 miles and spends 24 years on the Silk Road traversing various parts of Asia and China before returning to his hometown of Venice. A true classic.

Another timeless tome is “The Innocents Abroad,” by Mark Twain. Published in 1869, he discusses his travels through Europe and the Holy Land. Samuel Clemens may have been best remembered as a writer, but he traveled extensively as well.


So, as I continue my own Wanderlust thoughts and rationalize getting an extended journey on the calendar, I have plenty of inspiration to read… and/or re-read.

Turning a thought into reality will require some work.