Mark Twain (Samuel Clemmons, born in 1839) could be considered the first American travel writer. His first best seller, Innocents Abroad, published in 1869, chronicles his trip through Europe and the Holy Land. One of his most popular travel quotes comes from that book.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
- Innocents Abroad
To really appreciate his humor, insight and talents, a closer look at other travel related quotes is necessary.
I have found out there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them. -Tom Sawyer Abroad
…nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people. Letter to San Fransisco Alta California, 1867
Bermuda is the right country for a jaded man to “loaf” in. There are no harassments; the deep peace and quiet of the country sink into one’s body and bones and give his conscience a rest and chloroform the legion of invisible small devils that are always trying to whitewash his hair. Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion
I wrote my last travel-book in hell; but I let on, the best I could, that it was an excursion through heaven. Some day I will read it, & if its lying cheerfulness fools me, then I shall believe it fooled the reader. How I did loath that journey around the world!–except the sea-part & India.
- Letter to William Dean Howells, in regards to FOLLOWING THE EQUATOR April 2, 1899
Foreigners cannot enjoy our food, I suppose, any more than we can enjoy theirs. It is not strange; for tastes are made, not born. I might glorify my bill of fare until I was tired; but after all, the Scotchman would shake his head, and say, “Where’s your haggis?” and the Fijan would sigh and say, “Where’s your missionary?”
- A Tramp Abroad
A nation is only an individual multiplied. – “The Turning-Point of My Life”
The Germans are exceedingly fond of Rhine wines; they are put up in tall, slender bottles, and are considered a pleasant beverage. One tells them from vinegar by the label. – A Tramp Abroad
It is hard to make railroading pleasant in any country. It is too tedious. Stage-coaching is infinitely more delightful. – The Innocents Abroad
…a man who keeps company with glaciers comes to feel tolerably insignificiant by and by. The Alps and the glaciers together are able to take every bit of conceit out of a man and reduce his self-importance to zero if he will only remain within the influence of their sublime presence long enough to give it a fair and reasonable chance to do its work.
- A Tramp Abroad
The English, the arrogant nation. The Americans the material nation, the Germans the patient nation, the Russians the unclassifiable nation, the French the volatile nation, the Scotch the thrifty nation, the Italians the hot-blooded kind-hearted nation, the Irish the nation of chaste women.
- Mark Twain’s Notebook
A southerner talks music. – Life on the Mississippi
The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say. - Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1902-1903
There is no unhappiness like the misery of sighting land (and work) again after a cheerful, careless voyage.
- Letter to Will Bowen (prior to sailing on Quaker City)
The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become until he goes abroad. - Innocents Abroad
What is your favorite Mark Twain quote?