Two quotes I recently came across have buzzed around my brain for several days now. One is: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” (Augustine of Hippo.) The other is: “Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.” (Isabelle Eberhardt, The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt.)
I often say, as do others, that everyone’s life is a book, and those who do not travel write only one page.
At a recent birthday party for three family members in Denver, I mentioned to an 18-year old Lundy niece that she could take the money she earned at camp ($1,500) and put it toward a new, smaller car. (The truck she had longed for and is now driving is suddenly viewed as too large and gas-hungry, so she’s been touting a smaller, zippier, gas-friendlier vehicle.) When I told her that she could borrow money from me and from other relatives to come up with additional money for a sweet little used car, she didn’t skip a beat before saying, “Oh, no, I want to travel! The car can wait.” Good for her!
Another Lundy kid at the party is travel-crazy nephew, five years out of college with a great job in San Francisco. Always a social type (fraternity leader, track star, truly engaged and engaging individual), he has networks of friends scattered far and wide. They’re all of marrying age, and they are marrying in droves. He’s been invited to all of the weddings, and he attends nearly every single one. He’s seeing the U.S. (he’s already been all over Europe and Asia — at the age of 28!), enjoying new groups of friends and their family members, and seeing new sights at all of his wedding destinations. It’s what he spends his hard-earned money on: airfare, hotels, wedding gifts, transportation to and from airports, the occasional new suit, and
My advice to these kids and to others, regardless of whether they are travelers or they are happiest in their own lovely environments, is to write stuff down. (Moleskin makes handy, slim-profile journals that can be tucked into iPad cases or backpacks.)
I say write it all down, hinting that it should be pen on paper writing (cloud-based backups are rarely stumbled across later in life and lovingly thumbed through). Too soon these young travelers will be engaged in careers with increasingly heavy responsibilities, mired in planning weddings of their own, paying mortgages, starting families and the like. Writing about travel experiences that they encounter in the middle parts of their lives — while they are young adults or near-adults, traveling and exploring and drinking it all in with wide-eyed fascination and a sprinkle of innocence — will likely comprise the best and brightest chapters in the books of their lives.