Monday, April 11, 2005

Samarkand and Ithaka

In light of LK's thanks below, now is as good a time as any to post a few of my favorite traveling quotations that capture the magic, wonder, and truth of traveling life's road. If only everyone realized how easily it can be done...

It's my most important piece of advice to anyone: Travel often.

"Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

- Song of the Open Road, by Walt Whitman

"Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life." - Jack Kerouac

"Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen." - Benjamin Disraeli

"The traveler sees what he sees; the tourist sees what he has come to see." - Gilbert K. Chesterton

"... the highway is for gamblers better use your sense
Take what you have gathered from coincidence..."
- Bob Dylan (It's All Over Now, Baby Blue)

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"No man can be a Politician, except he be first an Historian or a Traveller; (for except he can see what must be, or what may be, he is no Politician)." - James Harrington

"A year to go around the world! A whole twelve months of scenes and curious happenings in far-off foreign lands! You have thought of doing this, almost promised yourself that when you got old enough, and rich enough, and could "spare the time," you too would go around the world. Most of us get old enough; some of us get rich enough; but the time! the time! - to spare the time, to cut loose from goods and lands, from stocks and dreary desks, quit clients, patients, readers, home and friends - ay, and our enemies whom we so dearly love! Full many a promise must be broken and few the voyagers round the world." - D.N. Richardson, "A Girdle Round the Earth"

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page." - St. Augustine

"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." - Lin Yutang

"Unusual travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." - Kurt Vonnegut

And two final poems, dedicated to those two special places that I will one day, someday, visit as on pigrimages to the very idea of travel and fortune.

(1) Samarkand:

We travel not for trafficking alone:
By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned:
For lust of knowing what should not be known
We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.

-The Golden Journey to Samarkand, by James Elroy Flecker

(2) Ithaka:

When you set out for Ithaka
Ask that your way be long,
Full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
Angry Poseidon -- do not fear them;
Such as these you will never find
As long as your thought is lofty,
As long as a rare emotion
Touch your spirit and your body.

- Ithaka, by C.P. Cavafy


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