Travel Culture: Essays on What Makes Us Go

By Carol Traynor Williams | Go to book overview
Save to active project



HUMAN HISTORY IS the story of a traveler, an Odysseus. In The Songlines, his narrative of traveling Australia to know its Aborigines, Bruce Chatwin says that travel is innate because humankind first evolved as hunters walking through the grasslands. And, like our history as a whole, the history of travel is a tale of ever growing democratization. The first humans who sallied forth from the mouth of the cave started a stream of us who have caught the caravan. We have looked for new herds, fresh soil, free land (or a free land), a mate not incestuous; we have searched fearfully for warmth, water, safety from the wargus--in Middle Latin, wargus is both the wolf and the stranger--but we have also moved out curiously, for new tribes to trade with, for novel congress. We have quested for the Grail and for gold, but also just for the sight around the bend. And that surprise has been searched for often enough, and by all kinds of men and women, from the most ancient times, so that we can be sure that to move and to change are human habits, as inborn as the other habit: to settle, to nest. 1

In the last half of the twentieth century, after the end of World War II, democracy and travel have run rampant. Ironically, war has been the great travel opportunity for the average Joe. Technology, especially of transportation and communication, also spurs travel, but these technologies grow from war (or "peace-keeping" missions). The Civil War uprooted and urbanized rural and small-town America. How would we keep them down on the farm after they had seen "Paree"? the World War I song asked, and World War II "expatriated" fourteen million American men and women. The Vietnam War lies behind the current boom in Asian travel. In the wake of post-World War II wealth, first in the United States and then worldwide, churned travel or, more democratically, tourism. As the world traveled, willy nilly and unwitting of itself as sea changer, it slowly grew more "international": from hamburgers to Wimpy's hamburgers in old Paris; from hamburgers to the French dip, tacos, sushi, tapas, and so on. In the early 1960s, when I crossed the Appalachians,


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Travel Culture: Essays on What Makes Us Go


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 196

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?