I ran across a great quote yesterday, written by one of the most brilliant men in history, and it reminded me why I’ve always loved cross-cultural work and getting people out of their pews and into the world. It broadens our worldview and reminds us that there are other people on this planet who matter … and it’s just plain good for us!

“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.”

– Mark Twain, 1857


Posted on July 20, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. This is yet one more amazing quotation from an amazing man. It’s heartbreaking to me that he, or rather, the poor memory of him, remains entangled in ignorant allegations of racism…

  2. here’s some excerpts from an article about travel called “Why More Americans Don’t Travel Abroad” —

    “The numbers tell the story: Of the 308 million-plus citizens in the United States, 30% have passports.”

    “Americans are comfortable in their own environment…”

    “There were 61.5 million trips outside the United States in 2009…About 50% of those trips were to either Mexico or Canada, destinations that didn’t require a passport until 2007. The percentage of Americans with passports — a number that was in the teens just a few years ago — has spiked since the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was adopted.”
    (in essence – or at least, in my opinion – “travelling” across the border to mexico and canada “doesn’t count” as “going abroad.”)

    “Not taking the leap is comforting, because this is the American life,” said Matthew Kepnes, international traveler and creator of, a blog chronicling his travels and observations. “Breaking outside anything that is your norm is scary.”

    “America has it all… There are pockets of regional culture — the South has an attitude that New Yorker’s don’t have…But you don’t have the cultural differences that you would get if you went to Asia, Paris or London. Even with Chinatown in Los Angeles and Little Italy in New York City, it’s just not the same as walking the streets of Beijing or riding a gondola in Venice.”

    “America is an outstanding country and an outstanding vacation destination — no doubt about that,” said Joe Byrne, executive vice president for Tourism Ireland. “But it is America. I’m sure you have great Irish traditional music in an American Irish pub, but you don’t have the Lakes of Killarney.”

    “Skepticism and ignorance — We buy goods from Sri Lanka and outsource business to India, but when it comes to traveling to these destinations, Americans would rather stick close to home. Our culture doesn’t emphasize knowledge of the world…We’re more skeptical of it because we just don’t know about it.”

    “Work culture — Many Americans follow the same pattern: work hard in high school, go to college, accrue a load of debt and get a job right away to work it off…The United States doesn’t promote taking a year off between major life phases like New Zealand or the United Kingdom.”

    “We’re not a travel culture…Countries are travel cultures when they put more of an emphasis on leisure time, and Americans tend to choose money over leisure time.”

    “Cultural shifts like that are not something that happens quickly…A swing toward international travel is going to take time. Americans are going to have to speak more languages and be more culturally savvy…We have to change because we have to do business with all these other cultures.”

    “One of the true benefits of travel to foreign countries is it’s probably the greatest form of diplomacy…Strange ideas go away and you realize that we’re all similar, just with different cultures.”

  3. Hmm … makes me think that maybe it’s time to brush the cobwebs off our “callings and gifts” and GO YE THEREFORE. Kathy, you’re right, we need to see and GO to the bigger picture. And this quote brought to mind a quote by another brilliant writer who said…

    “It reminded me why I’ve always loved cross-cultural work and getting people out of their pews and into the world. It broadens our worldview and reminds us that there are other people on this planet who matter … and it’s just plain good for us!”

    Been wondering, wandering and praying … thanks for the reminder “D”

  4. I love Mark Twain – brilliant, yes. I never saw this quote. How excellent and true. If we but look beyond ourselves and our little groups for a moment… see the bigger picture….to get a tiny glimpse of what God sees. Thank you!

  1. Pingback: TRAVEL CAN BE FATAL | Dark Acts Bible: Glass Half Empty, Base Cracked...

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