April 16, 2022

Imagine what traveling must have been like centuries ago

Jesse considers how taking risks and embracing uncertainty can open doors to beautiful travel experiences

Imagine what traveling must have been like centuries ago
Jesse Blackwood

It’s almost impossible for the modern traveler to conceive of how much larger the world must have seemed to any person setting out on a voyage just a few centuries ago. Journeys across land and ocean were perilous and might last months while risking years of separation from loved ones. Postal service was uncertain, and there was no way of knowing either what one might encounter or what might be happening to loved ones at home.

Instantaneous messaging, video calls, commercial travel, and online information systems now mean that the risk of traveling is inconceivably less than it once was. But the spirit of travel, the hunger for discovery, and the desire to venture into the unknown is a part of who we are as humans. Although we can’t live like they did in the past (and probably wouldn’t want to anyway), we can still learn from the journeys of the past and imagine how it must have felt for a young Venetian merchant saying goodbye to his mother for the first time, how frightening and thrilling it must have seemed to sail across the adriatic, to visit Greece, Turkey, the Middle East. Without dictionaries, with little literacy, and certainly no google maps or google translate, arriving at an unfamiliar port must have been terrifying and exhilarating. Imagine the languages, foods, smells, confusion, and wonder.

What if a young sailor were not back at the ship in time, or lost or injured? We can’t easily imagine how immense the world must have felt.

And yet it was precisely this spirit of adventure and discovery that shaped our civilizations. Travel reminds us that there is nothing worthwhile without risk. Often the more worthy the endeavor, the more it asks of us. Quite simply, travel can remind us how to live. When we seek to encounter the new and unknown, when we leave work and screens behind us and we give ourselves permission to get lost, to immerse ourselves in the moment, we discover greater and wider horizons in ourselves. The lesson of travel is not to live in the past but to summon what is greatest in us, and to make that the reason for our setting forth, and finally to let the greatness we discover in ourselves and in the world become the legacy that we leave for others.

Here are a few photos of that legacy that we look forward to sharing with others in the upcoming year.

Jesse Blackwood

Jesse is a writer, tour guide, and teacher at heart. With nearly a decade of experience leading groups around Europe, Jesse’s love for exploring and sharing the beauty of the world is contagious.