In a world where the career of “travel blogger” reigns high in the court of cool, there’s some inherent irony in the fact that the best-selling travel book of all time is nearly 150 years old.
Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad, which humorously chronicles Twain’s experience traveling with a group of American tourists through Europe on a the steamship Quaker City, was first published in 1869. It was the best-selling of Twain’s works during his lifetime, and it remains the inspiration for wanderlust of epic proportions to this day.
Beyond inspiring generations of his literary fans with his signature humor, the book supports the idea that one should consider traveling to expand their own horizons.
One of the most quoted sections of the book reads as follows:
“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 of one’s life.”
Essentially, Mark Twain—the father of American literature and arguably the greatest humorist of his age– believed that travel opens people up to world views that are nearly impossible to comprehend without first-hand experience. Scientists have even tried, through recent research, to prove this statement true.
At Discover Corps, we’d have to agree. It’s our opinion that meaningful travel experiences change lives for the better. We believe that volunteer travel is particularly fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness. Here’s how…