“Travel makes a man perfect”
“Travel in the younger sort, is a part of education in the eider, a pan: of experience. ”—-Bacon,
Traveling has become an inseparable part of modern living. We travel for business, for sight-seeing and for necessity. We go to Darjeeling to see a relative or to look at the mighty Himalayas; We go to Puri to enjoy a sea-bath, to see the sun sinking in and emerging out of the sea. We go to Kashmir to enjoy the lovely sight of the valley of gods and to have a glimpse of the beautiful flower-girls. We go to “Haridwar to have a dip in the holy Ganges. We go to Agra in a friend’s marriage and do not forget to make a trip to the Taj, that poem in the marble But who travels to learn? Or we visit Vivckanand Srnarak at Kanya Kumari.
In Ancient India, people did not like travelling for many reasons. Means of communication were unsafe and slow. The orthodox opinion was against foreign travel. People intending to cross the high seas were threatened with social boycott. With the passage of time, that orthodox opinion has now changed. Indians, in general, have begun to realize the numberless advantages of travelling.
If nations know one-another more intimately, most of the present misunderstandings and disagreements are likely to minimize. The gulf between the different cultures will be abridged and a kind of international culture may crop up. Thus travelling is a great source of creating international harmony. In the modern times, there are greater opportunities for traveling than in the past. Owing to speedier means for travel by land, sea or air, we can go around the world in a few weeks. Journey by airplanes has become a possibility even for an ordinary person.
Although for noble aim of acquiring knowledge may be totally missing in our programmes of travel, it-is certain that our experience of travel will benefit us in various ways. Bacon says that “Traveling in the younger sort is a part of education. In the eider, a part of experience. Traveling teaches and teaches better than the books. No sense-organ is more potent a factor in teaching than the eye. We hear and yet doubt. We read, and yet question and challenge. We rub our eyes and shrug our shoulders. But if we go to the sport direct, all doubts are set at rest. Our doubts are dispelled. Out book-knowledge is confirmed.
Life is real, life is practical, but much of what a man learns from books is theoretical Book knowledge unless modified in the light of practical experience is not a help but is often a hindrance. Travelling furnishes an occasion for that, and helps to equip man with proper arms to fight the battle of life. Pope, the poet, sang that ‘the proper study of mankind is man’, and the traveler comes into contact with various kinds of men, and thus acquires better knowledge of man and his mind.
Though it may be unessential to the imagination, travel is necessary to an understanding of men. There is mirth and laughter, ecstasy and tragedy, fellow-feeling, hate and repulsion—all to be learnt from the life in the raw that only travel can bring to us. Only with long experience and the opening of his ware on many a beach where his language is not spoken, will the merchant come to know the worth of what he carries, and what is parochial and what is universal in his choice. Some delicate goods as justice, level and honor, courtesy, and indeed all the things we care for, are valid everywhere, but they are variously molded and often differently handled, and sometimes nearly unrecognizable if you meet them in a foreign land; and the art of learning fundamental common values is perhaps the greatest gain of travel to those who wish to live at ease among their follows.
Travelling refines our knowledge gained from books. Ideas strike root in the heart. The mental horizon is broadened. It makes us liberal in thought. It expands our outlook. We cease to measure things in terms of our environment. We can take a broad view of things, independent of the place where we are. Narrowness of the proverbial frog in the pond vanishes into the air. Our vision is enlarged and we find new frontiers of knowledge greeting us. The more we are away from our home, the larger our heart becomes, and the more generous we turn.
History, Geography, Economics and Sociology can be much better understood by means of travelling than through a classroom lecture. Traveling supplements our book knowledge. The places like Kurukshetra, Marathon, Waterloo, Plassey, Fatepur-Sikri and Delhi call back to our mind glorious facts of history. A visit to the historical places is interesting, instructive and edifying. It illumines many a dark chapter of history. The book of geography only tells us about the climate, habits, and dress of the people of a country. A visit to that country will provide us the first-hand knowledge of all these things. Many writers have written books on Travel Goldsmith’s ‘The Traveller, Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, Stevenson’s ‘Travels with a Donkey’.
Travelling takes us in contact of Nature and the grandeur and varied beauty of Nature leave on us an ennobling effect. When a man is at the top of a mountain, he realizes the littleness of his own self and he feels the pettiness of human quarrels and conflicts, and a sense sublime raises him to a higher plane. Beyond this and above all is enjoyment with no utilitarian objective, which is the main business of both travel and education to increase as they can. Good days are to be gathered like sunshine in grapes, to be trodden and bottled into wine and kept for age to sip at ease beside his fire.
There is no substitute for travel. Curiously enough, our own life is a journey, out of one room into another and on beyond the room of death into bright new world. If nothing else, we may lean) to understand better the meaning of travel from an understanding of our own position in the cosmic pattern.