I’m currently in Lima to report on many of the forgotten communities that live on the periphery of this wealthy South American city. (It is, in fact, a follow up to some reporting I did several years ago.) I’ll have lots to talk about this later on, but right now I’m tired and sunburned with barely enough time to eat or sleep.
What I’m getting at is that this post will be a bit shorter than usual…
Still. Something unusual happened to me on the way to the airport. Something that has never happened to me in five years of doing this.
I didn’t want to get on the plane.
Maybe I still didn’t feel great from my recent cold. Maybe I couldn’t stop worrying if I’d left the kettle on. Maybe I just really didn’t like that I was heading off and my wife was staying home. (Funny fact no one tells you about getting married… going away suddenly gets so much harder.)
Whatever the reason, this time heading off on a big adventure was surprisingly hard. So what helped?
Of all the cliched things, quotes.
I like travel quotes. Yes, they’re super-pinteresty and often sound like they belong 15 years ago as someone’s AIM away message, but a good one can really strike home. Like a great travelogue, good quotes can help remind us why we leave behind everything familiar and set off for inconvenience, discomfort and the unknown.
Here are a few of my favorites:
“To see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to, to draw closer, to see and be amazed. That is the purpose of life.”
– James Thurber, author of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, who may or may not have added the last six words. Depends on who you ask. And on a related note:
To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.
– The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, not actually the old motto of Life Magazine.
The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
– Roald Dahl
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
– Mark Twain
One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
– Henry Miller
The great affair is to move.
– Robert Louis Stevenson
Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.
– W.C. Fields
To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
– Aldous Huxley
There is something about the momentum of travel that makes you want to just keep moving, to never stop.
The greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time.
– Bill Bryson (Both)
A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.
– George Edward Moore
The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning you didn’t even think to ask.
– 180 Degrees South
Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.
– Benjamin Disraeli
You define a good flight by negatives: you didn’t get hijacked, you didn’t crash, you didn’t throw up, you weren’t late, you weren’t nauseated by the food. So you are grateful.
– Paul Theroux
I am an adventurer now, with a friendship for the ages.
I love the feeling of being anonymous in a city I’ve never been before.
– Anthony Bourdain