Travel is on my mind. I’m preparing for an ancestor pilgrimage to Italy to explore my immigrant grandmother’s birthplace in the south (Acquaviva delle Fonti) and growing-up place in the far north (Udine); as well as exploring Greece on a Goddess Tour of Crete and time on Lesbos in honor of a great poet ancestor named Sappho.  I’m an immigrant myself, starting my third year as a Mexican resident. Though I’ve traveled some in my new country, this pilgrimage to Italy and Greece represents, in my low budget lifestyle, a once-in-a-lifetime trip.  Here are some favorite quotes from women travelers before me.

“…taking off for Far-Flungery…Each individual has to devise her own adventure, sitting at home pouring over maps, being personally ignited by the notion of here or there. Real travel is not a consumer item; it is a private idiosyncratic thing, the traveler feeling the urge to go forth unprotected, to confront the unfamiliar, and being happy to accept modifications, hitherto unimaginable, of the standards and prejudices with which she left home. That unprotected confrontation of the unfamiliar, implying trust of ones’ fellow being, is what makes travelling a mutually enriching experience.” (from the 1995 intro by Dervla Murphy to A Woman’s World, true stories of life on the road by edited by Marybeth Bond)

“Out travelling I have met some of the most wonderful, friendly people in the world. Like musical notes, they have sounded in my life with unutterable beauty and left a great poignancy when they were gone. I have learned as much from an acquaintance of nine minutes as I have learned from other relationships of nine years…Travel itself has mellowed my life and let me loosen my hold on others. It has taught me to let my hand open for the swans to come and feed, and also to fly away.” (from Last Minute Terror by Jan Haag)

“When people travel from one culture of another, they tend to adopt the mental style of the new culture they’re immersed in. ” (from Diane Ackerman’s An Alchemy of Mind)

And the oldest quote of all, “The use of a gentleman in travelling is to look after the baggage. We two ladies take care to have no baggage. The “unprotected” never go beyond one portable carpet bag.” (from travel writer Emily Love’s Unprotected Females in Norway, 1857.)



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