Those Who Don’t Travel Only Read One Page. Really?


The saying “The world is a book and those who don’t travel only read one page” is oft attributed to Augustine of Hippo. Suppose Augustine did write that (which I doubt), I wonder of what he’d say about Immanuel Kant who, a common myth says, never traveled more than 16 km from Königsberg his whole life (that’s roughly an area 1/3 of Jakarta), yet have an enormous influence over the world of Western thought – and I don’t think Kant would ever even care about such a one-page saying.

I’ve met a number of people with strong drive to travel and who have traveled quite a lot. Upon meeting them, I wonder how their travels have changed both (1) their lives and (2) how they impact other people. Beyond that, the big question for me is: how significant are those travels for the resulting impacts?

For me, it’s perfectly fine for someone to love to travel and spend as much as they can afford to travel to numerous places around the world. It’s quite another thing, however, to draw a sweeping claim of one having to travel to read multiple pages of this figurative book of our world. There are multiple ways to read this book and one way may not necessarily be better than the other – although I believe using multiple channels of reading is much better than any single one of them.

Kant, for his part, only stayed in Königsberg his whole life, but explored the vast world of thoughts available through the writings of great thinkers and subsequently developed a remarkable life that has casted a very long shadow upon the world after him.

I wonder whether there’s a person who not only have travelled the world but also as an exclusive result of it have changed their lives significantly and have a significant impact on others?

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