I started this course with a discussion on Herodotus and the purpose of travel. It is only fitting, therefore, for me to end this course with an enlightened view on the purpose of travel. Through the readings of the course, I have come to the conclusion that the original purpose of travel is to our endless quest for knowledge. Herodotus states that his goal was “so that neither what has come to be from man in time might become faded nor that great and wondrous deeds, those shown forth by Greeks and those by barbarians, might be without their glory; and together with all this, also through what cause they warred with each other”. Yet, in his writings, which reflect his travels, he records the oddities of different cultures, while observing and journaling encounters with different species.
The drive for knowledge is again reflected in “The Travels of Marco Polo”. When Marco Polo arrives to the court of Kublai Khan, the Khan requests that in order to enlighten himself in the cultures of the world, the Polos would travel and “make a request to his Holiness that he would send to him a hundred men of learning, thoroughly acquainted with the principles of Christian religion”. In this case, the Khan doesn’t himself travel but nonetheless, in his drive for knowledge, he sends Polo to bring him representatives of the Christian religion.
As we look towards the latter readings, different purposes for travelling arise. Ibn Battuta travels for religion, Christopher Columbus travels for power and gold but it remains that the original purpose of travel is for knowledge.
Naturally, it would be quite hard for one to prove this through simply four readings and much less in 500 words or less. We have, as a culture, so exhausted travelling within our world that no longer do we travel purely for the reason of knowledge; we travel for education, pleasure, escape, relaxation and business. To observe the original purpose of travel in modern times, we must look toward what has...
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