Since my time as a pre-teen reader, Mark Twain has been a favourite. Although dead more than 100 years, he is still a popular provider of aphorisms to people without skill for expressing wise thoughts of their own.
So, at the risk of revealing myself as one of those people, I offer a Twain quote to launch Notable Discoveries, this journal of exploration and travel. What follows is from the conclusion of Innocents Abroad, a novel published in 1869:
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 can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
Notable Discoveries will report on experiences I’ve shared and will share with lifelong companion Gwen. She has spent decades working in critical-care nursing but has always had a love of travel, history and fine arts. We have journeyed widely but not sufficiently and aim to change the latter condition in the near future.
At The Guardian Jonah Lehrer, wondering why people travel, concluded that “pleasure is not the only consolation of travel.” He also quoted T.S. Eliot:
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
Because of other commitments, Gwen and I won’t be giving immediate attention to Notable Discoveries. But, there will be pieces of varying length added occasionally and, later in 2017, this will become a daily journal as we explore, once again, rural roads in France and Spain.
Our preference is to avoid herds and itinerary planners; we want serendipity to be our guide, but only after we’ve educated ourselves about the people and places that we visit.
However, our ultimate goal is to create a moderated forum for the exchange of information among mature travellers and consumers of life’s worthwhile experiences. The Internet has no shortage of people offering travel advice but most sites are more interested in selling products or services than ensuring experiences are both fulfilling and worthwhile.