Here is a Happy Holiday edition of Travelosophy. Enjoy.

“When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch.  When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age.  In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job.  Nothing has worked.  Four hoarse blasts of a ship’s whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet to tapping.  The sound of a jet, an engine warming up, even the clopping of shod hooves on pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth and vacant eye, the hot palms and the churn of stomach high up under the rib cage.  In other words, I don’t improve, in further words, once a bum always a bum. I fear the disease is incurable.”

-John Steinbeck, “Travels with Charley: In Search of America,” 1971, p. 3.

“It would be pleasant to be able to say of my travels with Charley, “I went out to find the truth about my country and I found it.”  And then it would be such a simpler matter to set down my findings and lean back comfortably with a fine sense of having discovered truths and taught them to my readers. I wish it were that easy. But what I carried in my head and deeper in my perceptions was a barrel of worms. I discovered long ago in collecting and classifying marine animals that what I found was closely intermeshed with how I felt at the moment. External reality has a way of being not so external at all.

This monster of a land, this mightiest of nations, this span of the future, turns out to be the macrocosm of microcosm me.  If an Englishman or a Frenchman or an Italian should travel my route, see what I saw, hear what I heard, their stored pictures would be notonly different from mine but equally different from one another. If other Americans reading this account should feel it true, that agreement would only mean that we are alike in our Americanness.”

-John Steinbeck, “Travels with Charley: In Search of America,” 1971, p. 209.

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