The first and best instruments are the traveler’s own eyes

“[Percy] Fawcett was taught not just how to survey but how to see — to record and classify everything around him, in what the Greeks called an autopsis. There were two principal manuals to help him. One was Art of Travel, written by Francis Galton for a general audience. The other was Hints to Travellers, which had been edited by Galton and served as the Society’s unofficial bible. The 1893 edition stated, “It is a loss, both to himself and others, when a traveller does not observe.” The manual continued, “Remember that the first and best instruments are the traveller’s own eyes. Use them constantly, and record your observations on the spot, keeping for the purpose a notebook with numbered pages and a map… Put down, as they occur, all important objects; streams, their volume, colour; mountain ranges, their character and apparent structure and glaciation, the colour and forms of the landscape, prevalent winds, climate. …In short, describe to yourself at the time all you see.””
–David Grann, The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon (2009)

Posted by | Comments (3)  | July 22, 2013
Category: Travel Quote of the Day

3 Responses to “The first and best instruments are the traveler’s own eyes”

  1. Chris Raybould Says:

    Totally agree! This completely sums up our travel experiences so far. Happy travels…

  2. Charles Says:

    I loved the wording to this but I absolutely agree. I often fail to snap pictures on travel excursions, much to my wife’s dismay, because I am too busy letting my eyes do the absorbing!

  3. Jennifer Miller Says:

    I rarely take photographs… if I do it’s because I’ve forcibly remembered to snap a shot. I prefer to simply be in a place, observe, and then later write my own pictures from my head.