A Pack Rat Find

Boats in Santa Barbara

I am a pack rat.  While over the years, this hasn’t made for easy moving situations, it has led to finding some pretty cool things that I’d saved in hopes of using in some way, some day.  Among the many things I save, the articles and quotes that I’ve ripped from the pages of magazines and (ahem) books, usually become the most useful.  It’s interesting looking at the dates of articles I’d ripped out and considered relevant to my life at the time (or hoped relevance in the future).  I came across a ripped and tattered article in my most recent move that I’d torn from the pages of one of my very favorite magazines, Reader’s Digest. I’ve been reading the magazine longer than any other magazine I’ve read in my life…I began reading my grandmother’s copies at about 10 and then subscribed to my own copies at around 12.

The article is entitled “Why Leave Home?” and is written by Paul Theroux.  It’s only two pages, but incredibly interesting, if you ask me.  Most interesting and useful, is his list at the tail end of the article called “The Essential Tao of Travel.”

I wanted to share it in hopes that during the time of the year that we travel most frequently, it would perhaps inspire.  The list of rules for travel, published in the June 2011 Reader’s Digest, by Paul Theroux is as follows:

1.  Leave home.

2. Go alone.

3. Travel light.

4. Bring a map.

5. Go by land.

6. Walk across a national frontier.

7. Keep a journal.

8. Read a novel that has no relation to the place you’re in.

9. If you must bring a cell phone, avoid using it.

10. Make a friend.


After driving across the United States, these rules for travel seem so insightful and useful.  Although I didn’t go alone, many of them I did do.  I think out of any of these rules, the most useful one is number 10 (make a friend).  Out of all of the traveling I’ve done in my life (which really isn’t THAT much), the one thing I take the most from is simply talking to people.  Locals, more specifically.  They offer a wealth of information about both the place you’re in, and life in general.  I am a firm believer that we find people in our lives when they can be of most help to us, and it’s never failed that I’ve met people that are a quick blink on my radar, but their words have stuck with me forever.


Which of these rules for travel to do you like best? Would you add any?

Happy Trails,

– A



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