Halliburton ain’t just a soulless multinational

I don’t usually comment on the comments to this blog (at least, not on the main page), but I was intrigued by a recent post by Nyle Walton, a 70 year-old reader who logged a comment on a quote by Richard Halliburton.

“I first read Halliburton at age 14,” Walton writes, “and he influenced my life enough to make me travel around the world three times, climb mountains such as the Matterhorn and Popocatepetl and take a midnight dip in the pool of the Taj Mahal. I am now seventy years old and do not regret the great experiences I had in the 1950s and 1960s, thanks to the spiritual legacy of Richard. I subsequently put together over a thousand pages of remembrances of my youth entitled ‘Hitchhiking after Halliburton.'”

Indeed, in terms of travel inspiration, Jack Kerouac may get a lot of well-deserved lip service — but there’s no denying that Richard Halliburton inspired a previous generation. His book The Royal Road to Romance, originally published in 1925, has been reissued by Travelers’ Tales, and it’s a great read. Its tone is very young (Halliburton was about 22 when he wrote it), but I think this kind of youthful verve is what inspires us to the road in the first place, regardless of how old we are. In many ways, I wrote Vagabonding as a letter to my 18 year-old self — and while its pages can apply to all ages, at its heart is that youthful thirst for unknown places.

As Tim Cahill wrote in Outside last year:

“A lot of us first aspired to far-ranging travel and exotic adventure early in our teens; these ambitions are, in fact, adolescent in nature, which I find an inspiring idea. Adolescence is the time in our lives when we are the most open to new ideas, the most idealistic. Thus, when we allow ourselves to imagine as we once did, we are not at all in our right minds. We are somewhere in a world of dream, and we know, with a sudden jarring clarity, that if we don’t go right now, we’re never going to do it. And we’ll be haunted by our unrealized dreams and know that we have sinned against ourselves gravely.”

Posted by | Comments (2)  | October 29, 2003
Category: Travel News

2 Responses to “Halliburton ain’t just a soulless multinational”

  1. Nyle Walton Says:

    I appreciate being quoted about how Richard Halliburton molded my life. I wonder how I could email to you a fifteen-page memoir entitled “Hitchhiking after Halliburton” to you and get it published on your blog.

  2. Ronald L. Davis Says:

    It was Nyle Walton who first introduced me to the writings of Halliburton and led me to repeat some of his adventures. Cf. Junior Halliburtons in the pages of the Deseret News, Salt Lake City, UT in Sept 1949.