Highlighting the educative value of travelling, Francis Bacon, in essay ‘Of Travel’, says, “Travelling in the younger sort is a part of education, in the elder a part of experience.” Travelling is undoubtedly a great experience in life. Those who can afford to travel should never miss the chance to do so. In the eighteenth century Europe, travelling was regarded as a necessary part of a man’s education. Even today high diplomatic personnel in every administration consists of widely travelled people. William Shakespeare also has expressed his view on travelling as a means of education. He says, “Home-keeping youths have homely wits.” Hence those who wish to sharpen their wits must go beyond the narrow limits of their native place. Ulysses, a great Greek Hero and the king of Ithaca, had an unquenchable thirst for travel. Tennyson has described that though Ulysses was old and did not have that muck of strength in body as in his youth, he never ceased from travel. Travelling provided rich food to his body, mind and soul.
Different people have different motives for travelling. Some travel for business, others for sight-seeing, some for sheer necessity and many for the sake of seeing the wonders of the world. There are a few who travel from a sense of a social vanity as travelling enables them to display their knowledge before others. Whatever be the motive, a traveler always derives an indescribable benefit from his visit to other lands and people.
Travelling is better than books in many respects. Travelling appeals to all senses whereas the books only to the mind. What is seen and heard leaves a deeper and more lasting impression than what is read in books. Moreover, book knowledge is theoretical whereas travel trains us in the battle of life. It gives courage, confidence and real knowledge of men and things. It broadens our mental horizon, deepens our sympathies and sheds narrow communal, sectarian or religious prejudices.
Travelling cultivates in us nobler sentiments and aspirations. It helps us a lot in promoting international goodwill and peace. Most of the international problems arise largely from ignorance which breeds misunderstanding. If nations know one another intimately, most of the tensions are likely to disappear and international culture may spring up.
Travel is a source of education in yet another way. It helps in the formation of literature. It enables us to get thoughts by conversing with great men of other countries. We are able to see new things of art and nature. We come across new natural sights and scenes such as mountains, rivers, and lakes. They inspire us with many lofty and noble thoughts. They stir our imagination and thus help in the production of literature.
Travel has also inspired many travel books. Some of them are Marco Polo’s ‘Travel in East’, Alduous Huxley’s ‘Jesting Pilate’, Stevenon’s ‘Travels with a Donkey’ etc. These travel books have been the source of great delight to millions of readers in all the countries of the world.
Today there are greater opportunities for travelling than in the past. It is more necessary in the world of today when so much false propaganda prevails against one another. One could not depend on newspapers and broadcasting system of the world. If we want to know the truth about world affairs, we must travel and see things for ourselves.