Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts
I have no fault to find with the manner in which our excursion was conducted. Its program was faithfully carried out – a thing which surprised me, for great enterprises usually promise vastly more than they perform. It would be well if such an excursion could be gotten up every year and the system regularly inaugurated. 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.
The Excursion is ended, and has passed to its place among the things that were. But its varied scenes and its manifold incidents will linger pleasantly in our memories for many a year to come. Always on the wing, as we were, and merely pausing a moment to catch fitful glimpses of the wonders of half a world, we could not hope to receive or retain vivid impressions of all it was our fortune to see. Yet our holyday flight has not been in vain – for above the confusion of vague recollections, certain of its best prized pictures lift themselves and will still continue perfect in tint and outline after their surroundings shall have faded away.
Here, Mark Twain is commenting on the convenience of going on a cruise ship, instead of trekking solo. He has enjoyed the comfort of returning to his home base on the same boat, one port of call after another, where on this boat he finds the same familiar companions. At the same time, he remarks, “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
What is it about seeing other places?
Is the true destination a state of mind? Or is that too easy? I’ve always thought that avoiding the familiar was part of experiencing new places, but here is Twain, happy to travel with the comforts of home. Maybe the true destination is not something we can create out of what we think we will experience.