Another insiprational thought

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I first found this quote at a blog called "Wandering Why" which was a discovery mentioned in the comments on this post. The Wandering Why people found it in "a friend’s Peace Corps paperwork", but a little digging on Google revealed that it comes from a book called "Letters to My Son" by Kent Nerburn. Thank you to Google Books for letting me see the correct quote in context, by previewing Chapter 17, "Travel". (In fact, the whole chapter was great, though Google Books, quite properly, does not allow you to preview every page.)

That is why we need to travel. If we don't offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder. Our eyes don't lift to the horizon; our ears don't hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience and we pass our days in a routine that is both comfortable and limiting. We wake up one day and find we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days.

Don't let yourself become one of those people. The fear of the unknown and lure of the comfortable will conspire to keep you from taking the chances the traveler has to take. But if you take them, you will never regret your choice. To be sure there will be moments of doubts when you stand alone, on a empty road in an icy rain or when you are ill with fever in a rented bed. But as the pains of the moment will come, so too will they fall away. In the end you will be much richer, so much stronger, so much clearer, so much happier and so much a better person that all the risk and hardship will seem like nothing compared to the knowledge you have gained.

As I get closer and closer to leaving behind everything familiar, saying good bye to friends and family, and putting myself out there alone, these are comforting and fortifying words.

Perhaps not so comforting is this "Traveler's Blessing", from the end of that chapter of "Letters to My Son":
"May you have warm shoes, a soft pillow and dry clothes."
Does this mean that everything beyond that should be considered luxury? If so, can I trade the soft pillow for a full stomach... or at least a beer?


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