Quit Vegetating

Half the point of having a blog may be to share this quotation with just one more person. And yes, quotation is a noun, quote is a verb. It’s a pet peeve of mine. Mark Twain wrote this in The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It, which I have never read but really ought to.

“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 love to travel more than almost anything else and never come back from a place with the exact same attitude. Some of my favorite activities en voyage are the simplest: shopping for breakfast foods at a local grocery store, attempting to buy a birthday card, seeing a movie (in Israel, there are intermissions), going to a history museum (the French claim World War I started in 1871). Travel does not have to be international. The US has more cultures than many of us realize and American life is anything but uniform. Some of my favorite trips have been to American destinations such as Charleston, SC and Cincinnati, Ohio. We have an obligation to rouse ourselves from routine and challenge our habitual views. Mark Twain was on to something and we owe it to him (and hello, ourselves) to get off our butts and explore the corners.

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