I have been thinking a lot about Mark Twain lately…
I’ve always had an overwhelming desire to travel the world–to see countless countries and cultures and to ponder people and their perspectives. I think that our best learning experiences comes from our interactions with people. As philosopher C. Terry Warner’s stated: “Exemplary people show us that opening ourselves to others is not to be feared, but on the contrary releases us from the bondage of our fears.”
I think that Mark Twain was one of those “exemplary people.” Mark Twain traveled the world and was a vivid observer of the things he saw. His travels deeply enriched his writings and his writings helped release “us from the bondage of our fears.”
Said Mark Twain: “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.”
I remember when I read an article on him in TIME magazine I saw a map of his travels (and the writings they produced) and I thought to myself: “I want to do that. I want to travel the world and make those travels meaningful. I want to meet people and learn more about the way they see the world.”
In the years that have followed, I’ve thought a lot about Twain and I occasionally make plans to “go with him.” Right now, my plans feel like nothing more than boyhood dreams of adventure.
Then again, from everything I’ve read of Twain, he never let go of his boyhood dreams. And perhaps those dreams, in and of themselves, are my ticket to “go with him” on his travels.