A Travel Memoir Without Skydiving

Michael Crichton has always been, and always will be, one of my favorite authors. Upon reading Travels, his travel memoir of his life, he's now one of the people I desperately wished I could have met. His views on life are unique and staggering; the mark of a brilliant individual. After closing the pages of Travels, I learned three life changing things.

One - I'm ridiculously jealous of his life. "By the time I graduated from high school," Crichton writes, "I had been to forty-eight states, to Canada and Mexico, and to five countries of Europe." Great, I thought, I'm already behind. But even beyond his travels, his life was fuller than most fictional characters. He went through med school, became a world renowned author, directed movies stars like Sean Connery, explored meditation and the mystical inner realm, scuba diving, mountain climbing, swimming with sharks, seeing auras, the list is positively endless. All of it made me determined to experience as much as I could.

Two - We can never know everything, not as a person, not as a race. Crichton was able to experience so much and have this vast list of accomplishments because he was open to it. He didn't feel too learned or "traveled" to gain value from anywhere he could. Even those who know everything about one aspect of life only know that aspect. Existence is endless and we can never discover it all. A wise person must have an open mind.

Three - All travel, whether internal or across endless borders, is done to discover yourself. Through the lens of a foreign place or state of mind, we are able to see ourselves more clearly. Crichton states this numerous times as he rediscovers it time and time again. Each new adventure leads to a new realization about himself. His travel caused him to end relationships, change career paths, huge and drastic measures that most of us are scared to even think of. And yet he did; each and every form of travel helped him learn about himself and reset his path.

Crichton is truly a wise man, because he admits that his knowledge is limited and minuscule in comparison to what he doesn't know. He admits that a person must test themselves to discover themselves. And that an opportunity should never be passed over, but embraced to it's fullest potential. His memoir left me excited and passionate about experiencing new things. And while I'm envious of what he's done, I can smile because as far as I know, I've got him beat in at least one thing; I've been sky diving.

1 comment:

  1. I love travel writers, of course Paul Theroux and Bill Bryson have been my main go to guys, this just made my list. If it's as inspiring as your review (and motivating) the moment I finish David Copperfield (just started 3 days ago) this will be in my hands. Thanks

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