Well-known travel writer Pico Iyer once wrote that “Travel for me is all about transformation, and I’m fascinated by those people who really do come back from a trip unrecognizable to themselves and perhaps open to the same possibilities they’d have written off not a month before.”
I’m sure you, as an avid nature and adventure traveler, can relate to that feeling of metamorphosis that happens when you go on a great trip. Somehow, travel seems to open you up to possibilities: it makes you question your long-held beliefs, challenges your worldviews, stretches your heart and stirs your soul.
Below, I’ve gathered together a few quotes about travel from some famous and not-so-famous people. All of them finish the phrase “Travel is … ” (or a close approximation). I hope you’ll use these reflections to inspire your own, one-sentence definition of travel. Then, let us know what you came up with by posting your creation in the comments section at the end of this piece.
Travel is an instigator for personal growth
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. “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”—Miriam Beard
3. “[To] travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”—Aldous Huxley
4. “Travel is like a giant blank canvas, and the painting on the canvas is only limited by one’s imagination.”—Ross Morley
5. “[To] travel is to take a journey into yourself.”—Danny Kaye
6. “Travel, like dreams, is a door that opens from the real world into a world that is yet to be discovered.”—Guy de Maupassant
7. “Travel[ing] is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.’ ”—Lisa St. Aubin de Teran
8. “Travel is never a matter of money, but of courage.”—Paulo Coelho
9. “Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.”—Francis Bacon
10. “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”—Anonymous
11. “Travel is like love, 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.”—Pico Iyer
Travel is a complicated undertaking
1. “Travel is the only context in which some people ever look around. If we spent half the energy looking at our own neighborhoods, we’d probably learn twice as much.”—Lucy R. Lippard
2. “Travel[ing] is not just seeing the new; it is also leaving behind. Not just opening doors; also closing them behind you, never to return. But the place you have left forever is always there for you to see whenever you shut your eyes.”—Jan Myrdal
3. “Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.”―Paul Theroux
4. “Travel is the most private of pleasures. There is no greater bore than the travel bore. We do not in the least want to hear what he has seen in Hong Kong.”—Vita Sackville-West
5. “Travel is impossible, but daydreaming about travel is easy.”—B. J. Novak
6. “Travel is very subjective. What one person loves, another loathes.”—Robin Leach
Travel is life
I like to think that travel is so much more than the simple act of getting from here to there. Again, as Pico Iyer writes, “A traveler is really not someone who crosses ground so much as someone who is always hungry for the next challenge and adventure.” Perhaps Hans Christian Anderson puts it most simply and eloquently: “To travel is to live.”
What does the word travel mean to you? Let me know in the comments section below by completing the phrase: “Travel is … .”
I can’t wait to be transported by your thoughts.
Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,
love this post, really travel has many ways of broadening and changing our perspective
You travel either for obligatory reasons or out of your own free will. In the first case it may be boring and will be remembered as such. In the second case all suffering is quickly forgotten and replaced by the original expectations.
The quotes here are lovely, and meaningful. But to me, the word ‘travel’ is very casual. I don’t divide the world into two parts: where I normally live, and then all the rest of it. To me, there is a seamless continuum from my front porch to my local grocery store to Athens to Lagos to Calcutta to Vientiane to Moscow, and all are entertaining, enlightening and amusing. There is no difference between “travel” to Costco or to any of those places – or any other place – on earth, except for whether or not I take a change of underwear, my passport and a toothbrush.
As my mother always told me, travel is the best investment: It always yields a return (even if not always the one you expect), and afterwards it can neither be stolen from you nor taxed away.
Oh, the quotes above are so beautifully expressed, all I can do is underscore each and every one of them.
I agree with you, Mary. They certainly are inspiring. Thanks for your comment! —C.G.A.