Great Lessons From Henry David Thoreau About Travel

Henry David Thoreau understood something that many modern-day nomads would do well to recognize: travel is a matter of perspective, not location.

Hendry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau

In fact, Thoreau traveled far and wide for his day and age, vagabonding to Cape Cod and the vast wilderness of the Maine Woods. However, the great prophet of enlightened self-reliance claimed to have done most of his traveling in his own hometown.

Thoreau understood something that many modern-day nomads would do well to recognize: travel is a matter of perspective, not location. With curiosity, an open mind, and a broad horizon of free time, it’s possible to travel in your own backyard.

Henry David Thoreau was an American essayist, poet, and philosopher. A leading transcendentalist, he is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings.

Below are some of Thoreau’s thoughts on travel and being present in time. We hope you’ll enjoy this selection just as much as we enjoyed compiling it for you.

With curiosity, an open mind and a broad horizon of free time, it’s possible to travel in your own backyard.

Great Lessons From Henry David Thoreau About Travel

You Don’t Need Money to Travel

One [of my friend] says to me, “I wonder that you do not lay up money [but yet] you love to travel; you might take the cars and go to Fitchburg today and see the country.”

But I am wiser than that. I have learned that the swiftest traveler is he that goes afoot. I say to my friend, suppose we try who will get there first. The distance is 30 miles; the fare is 90 cents. That is almost a day’s wages.

Well, I start now on foot, and get there before night; I have traveled at that rate by the week together. You will in the meanwhile have earned your fare, and arrive there some time tomorrow, or possibly this evening if you are lucky enough to get a job in season.

If you enjoy this article about Henry David Thoreau, we have more great Literary content on The Ritual Blog here.

Living Deliberately

Great Lessons From Henry David Thoreau About Travel

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary – Henry David Thoreau.

I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

On Taking Long Walks in Nature

It is true we are but faint-hearted crusaders, even the walkers, nowadays, who undertake no persevering, never-ending enterprises. Our expeditions are but tours and come round again at evening to the old hearth-side from which we set out. Half the work is but retracing our steps.

We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return—prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms.

If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again—if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man, then you are ready for a walk.

I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend 4 hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements – Henry Dave Thoreau.

I, who cannot stay in my chamber for a single day without acquiring some rust, and when sometimes I have stolen forth for a walk at the eleventh hour of four o’clock in the afternoon, too late to redeem the day, when the shades of night were already beginning to be mingled with the daylight, have felt as if I had committed some sin to be atoned for,—I confess that I am astonished at the power of endurance, to say nothing of the moral insensibility, of my neighbors who confine themselves to shops and offices the whole day for weeks and months, ay, and years almost together.

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The Joy of Nothingness – Great Lessons From Henry David Thoreau About Travel

Great Lessons From Henry David Thoreau About Travel

Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a very, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sing around or flitted noiselessly through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveler’s wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time.

I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance.

I realized what the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of works. For the most part, I minded not how the hours went. The day advanced as if to light some work of mine; it was morning, and lo, now it is evening, and nothing memorable is accomplished.

Phantom World A.R. Braun

  • [caption id="attachment_8291" align="alignleft" width="188"]phantom world phantom world[/caption] Phantom World is a Hard Core Haunt collection that explores the bitter feelings of isolation, loss, and denounces religion from various personalities. Here we will be introduced to poltergeists, newly born ghost-entities along with their familiars learning about the afterlife, and spirits that are stuck in the netherworld. While some of these ectoplasmic beings may come across as innocent at times, their stories unfold in a manner to inform the reader as to why they were not allowed into the heaven or allowed to have a “peaceful” afterlife. Written by A.R. Braun Release Date: September 22nd, The First Day of Fall Phantom World will be Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Scribd, Kobo and here. ISBN: 978-1-7361447-2-5

    About the Author

    Once completing the Bram Stoker Award Boot Camp, A. R. Braun writes the following novels: Dogman of Illinois, Heaven’s Witches, Autonomy, and Only Women in Hell. As well as publishing the short-story collections: Insanity, Horror Book, Grimoire, and the novella, 66SICK. He became interested in horror when he read “The Telltale Heart,” as an assignment in high school. By the time he was eighteen, he owns the whole Stephen King collection and begins writing short stories for friends and family. A. R. holds numerous publication credits, including “NREM Sleep” in the D.O.A. anthology; “Freaks” in Downstate Story magazine; “The Unwanted Visitors” in the Vermin anthology; “Coven” in the Heavy Metal Horror anthology; “Remember Me?” in Horror Bound magazine; and “Shades of Gray (the Symbiosis of Light and Dark)” in Micro Horror magazine. “The Interloper” wins story of the month in 2009’s June Full Moon in Bloom issue of SNM Horror Magazine, and the piece was included in the SNM Horror anthology, Bonded by Blood 2: a Romance in Red. A.R. Braun is a featured writer in our fiction anthology, “Mad Men” – a collection of three disturbing tales exploring what lies within man. Available now at Google BooksBarnes and NobleKoboApple iBooksSmashwords, and Amazon.   Read Demosthenes, the Great Greek Orator

Mad Men Mad Men

  • Mad Men is a collection of three disturbing horror shorts from authors living in the Midwest. The themes explored in this collection range from man versus self, man versus man, and man versus creature. [caption id="attachment_4742" align="alignleft" width="188"]Mad Men eBook Mad Men eBook at Mind on Fire Books[/caption] Mad Men begins with Matt’s tale, a thought-provoking thriller that causes the reader to question his reality and what he fears within himself. The second tale explores the grotesque juxtaposed with beautiful nature, where the ending unfolds into a horrific dream, waking in even more terrible pain. The third tale is by seasoned horror writer, A.R. Braun – and his diabolical creatures never disappoint!  A.R. Braun’s goal is to be on the banned book list; we think this tale may just be evil enough to be considered. A must-read before it does get banned! Mainstream Horror Shorts don’t always satisfy us in the way they should. They don’t open conversations about what it is that we fear or why we fear such things, they focus mainly on pop culture and gore. The writers in the Mad Men anthology understand the need for literate horror, opening discussions of man’s psyche. When these writers set out to tell a story, they are less interested in conveying fear and more interested in wonder, the sublime, and the infinite strangeness that drives all men and women. Highly recommended for tweens, teens, and adults. The Mad Men anthology was published by Mind on Fire Books. Written by Willy Martinez, A.R. Braun, and Matt Lavitt. No part of this book shall be copied without permission from the publisher.
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