In this article, we will discuss Of Travel by Francis Bacon. Francis Bacon is often referred to as the father of English Essay with his essays discussing topics of ethics, governance and pragmatic living. Therefore his style of writing is very prosaic, normative and formalistic.
Of Travel Summary
Travel is Education
In “Of Travel”, Bacon delves into the various travels we experience in life. According to him the biggest advantage of travel is the education on receives on his travels and journeys through space and time.
We often limit our understanding of education and knowledge creation to mere reading and writing but the art of travel adds another dimension to it. Before one starts his travel he/she must prepare hard for it.
This includes learning about the place of your travel, its language and culture. The age that Bacon lived in had different travel times and so the author emphasizes the need for preparation before traveling.
Normally, having a company of an experienced person is recommended for the young travelers. The lived experience of such accompaniment will only enhance one’s own experience and help tackle various challenges during the same.
Bacon encourages the traveller to take advantage of others’ experience and knowledge rather than go into new situations and places blindly. This also pertains to using local guides and travel counsellors if need be.
Preparation is the Key
He entreats doing research about the popular cuisine, available facilities like accommodation, communication etc regarding the place. He goes on to recommend people to maintain a travel diary chronicling their lessons and experiences.
This creates a veritable memory of the place and allows the person to revisit the place even afterword through the written word. He advises people to enjoy the history of the place, stored in its structures like churches, mosques, monuments, public courts and palaces and even ruins.
You might be able to see fencing demonstrations or horse shows, though nowadays you’re likely not to run into many “capital executions.” You can take One may also witness the local arts, plays, and other activities that are endemic to the place.
Next, Bacon suggests the use of a guidebook traverse the local routes and never to overstay at any one city or same part of any city. The key is to seek out the diverse places and their sections.
The Importance of Total Immersion in the Place
One important warning Bacon gives is to not get caught up in the company of your fellow countrymen or travellers but rather try to engage with the residents and natives of the place.
Try and learn about their place and inquire about the places to see, what to eat and things to do. This will enhance your travel and may reveal some real gems that may be undiscovered otherwise.
It is important to isolate oneself from the things that one is habitual too and the comforts that one finds with the known and familiar. It is important to savour the difference and uniqueness of each new place one visits.
He highlights the importance of to familiarize oneself with the officials like ambassadors etc while travelling even though that might not be as relevant in the modern age of internet and accessibility to information, unlike Bacon’s age.
But it is still advisable to be on good behaviour on your travels nonetheless. Some precautions that the traveller must make include: to stay away from quarrels and rapacious people. One must also be aware of the various dangers present in the place including diseases and natural disasters.
It is Never a Good-Bye
The next and probably one of the most important things according to Bacon is to preserve connections with those places and its people even after you return back home. When one returns home, it is important to not lose contact with those places countries.
Once you return and resume your previous ways and activities, it is good to take on board some new mannerisms, customs and habits of the place you visited.
To learn from one’s own experience is crucial to self-growth. It enriches our lives and adds more value and meaning to our daily routines that we are accustomed to the backing at our home.
Of Travel: Key Thoughts
A man of many talents, Francis Bacon was the first major essayist in the English language. The essay Of Travel is a part of his impressive collection of essays on several topics.
The validity of Bacon’s advice in ‘Of Travel’, like maintaining a travel journal, seeking the guidance of the experienced people, exploring the culture of the place etc is still intact.
Even after five centuries and the world of development in terms of travel and communication, the basics remain the same. Bacon is able to encapsulate them beautifully in his words.
Through his essay, Bacon was able to highlight and even celebrate the richness and value that travel adds to a person’s knowledge, temperament, personality and life at large.
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