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May 6, 2013

Every generation has worried that travel frontiers are disappearing

“D.H. Lawrence, in a letter written early in the last century, complained, “I feel sometimes, I shall go mad, because there is no where to go, no ‘new world.’” In Tristes Tropiques (alternately—and tellingly—titled A World on the Wane), published in 1955, Claude Levi-Strauss wrote, “There was a time when traveling brought the traveler into contact with civilizations which were radically different from his own and impressed him in the first place by their strangeness. During the last few centuries such instances have become increasingly rare. Whether he is visiting India or America, the modern traveler is less surprised than he cares to admit.” Maybe every generation feels this way. Alexander the Great was said to have wept when he realized he had no more worlds to conquer, and Evelyn Waugh, in 1946, took the same tone when he wrote that he did not “expect to see many travel books in the near future,” adding that, “Never again, I suppose, shall we land on foreign soil with letter of credit and passport … and feel the world wide open before us.” Even the title of the book from which that passage is drawn, When the Going Was Good, puts joy in the past tense.”
–Malcolm Jones, Is Travel Writing Dead? The Daily Beast, Jun 5, 2011

Posted by | Comments (4) 
Category: Travel Quote of the Day


4 Responses to “Every generation has worried that travel frontiers are disappearing”

  1. DEK Says:

    To see the world whose loss these travelers were lamenting, look at the photographs in old National Geographics from the early decades of the 20th Century. It was a world where a traveler could witness the splendor of barbaric courts and camel caravans in the desert and executed criminals hung in cages at the city gate.

  2. Roger Says:

    These authors, whom I respect completely, are just being a bit too melodramatic. There’s plenty to see out there, if we can just GO. When well over 70% of Americans don’t even leave the country year after year, we are missing a whole lot. And we tend to go back to the same places again and again, thus missing other places, other continents. I’m guilty of this. The world is not shrinking as much as our paltry amount of vacation time is. Time is running out—not destinations.

  3. bicyclegourmet Says:

    rolf..mr jones apparently hasn’t visited your blog before birthing his sensationalist title….the proff that his title is all “please click here” and nothing else….is plainly evident to anyone who has even SKIMMED your offerings here.

  4. Weekend Links | Life With a Mission Says:

    [...] Every generation has worried that travel frontiers are disappearing :: Rolf Potts on Vagablogging.net [...]

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