What’s your destination?

Posted: July 16, 2015 in Musings, Quotes
Tags: , , , , ,
One’s destination is never a place but a new way of looking at things.
~ Henry Miller

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately, something I love, so this quote captured my attention. It called to mind a quote by 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.”

We usually only see the first part of that quote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”  I think that is often, but not always, true.  We’ve all read about or experienced “the ugly Americans”, those people who wherever they travel, compare their destinations unfavorably to home, those who say, “This isn’t like home,” and of course there are “ugly Americans” of all nationalities.  To me, part of the fun of travel is being somewhere not like home.  Otherwise, why would I leave it? But people sometimes come home even more entrenched in the notion that their way is the best or only way and, as we see every day, there are many not only unwilling to give up their prejudices, but who want to destroy all those not like them.  Travel won’t cure that.

I disagree with the second part of the Twain quote, at least as a given. Many people who don’t physically travel aren’t hidebound, uncharitable, or narrow-minded, and many people can’t afford to travel or travel far, especially to other countries.  But travel certainly offers the opportunity, sometimes forces the opportunity, to see different things, hear different points of view, talk to people who are different from us.  How those differences change each of us varies.

Back to the initial quote by Henry Miller.  No matter where we go or how we go, through physical travel, books, movies, or other methods, we need to be open to and to seek out new experiences, new thoughts, new possibilities.  The ensuing opportunity to change or at least broaden our way of looking at things is a prized destination that can come during and/or after journeys of many different types.  Even meeting people from other places and spending time with them can be a journey that brings the traveler to a new way of looking at things.

Bon voyage!

  1. Sue says:

    Enjoyed this pondering…..

  2. While spending the past week in Maine, one of the most enjoyable parts of the trip were the evenings spent on the deck of the Inn talking to other travelers. We had wonderful conversations with people from Vermont, Kansas, North Carolina, Canada, and Nebraska to name a few areas. Most of the people who sat on the deck over looking Penobscot Bay were over 50 and they chose conversation over technology. We loved it. 🙂

  3. I have traveled a lot. It did broaden my mind as I learnt so much about other countries. That is the whole point of traveling – to experience new cultures, cuisines and people.

  4. I agree with you. It’s not necessary to travel to some far away location. People can’t always afford it or they don’t have the time.
    I’m a member of couchsurfing and this summer I haven’t been abroad, but I’ve had visitors from Czech Republic, Poland, Japan, China, Israel and Taiwan.

    • I’ve heard about couchsurfing, but haven’t really looked into in yet. What a great way to meet people, though, whether as traveler or as host.


      • I’ve only used it to host people, but I have some new friends around the world now and I know for sure that I’ll visit at least a couple of them.

  5. The Henry Miller quote really resonates with me. I went through a phase where I was trying to practise design skills using quotations, and this was one of the ones I picked!