Few things make us feel as good as finding others that think like us. When a quote from a famous person matches our feelings it seems to drive home the point that much better. As a general rule I would say that had we found the quotes before the underlying concept they may not have as much an impact on us but I challenge any who disagree to comment.
I have long loved to travel. Whether it was to my aunt and uncle's house in rural LA (that's the original LA, Lower Alabama), or to family reunions in central Mississippi, of course trips to New Orleans, Mobile, and Atlanta were always full of new things too. Once I reached a point I could truly set out into the world those trips became longer and more fascinating.
Early on I had found Innocents Abroad, but found the film adaptation (perhaps it was a PBS adaptation) to be more interesting than the book, a rare occurrence for me. It tells of Mark Twain's adventures when he convinced a newspaper to pay him to see the world. This is a step away from con man but I leave it to the individual to decide if it is above or below. My own interpretation is clear as I have regularly used my employer as a means of funding my trips to other parts, of the state, of the country, and of the world. It was only once I had reached a Twain level of employer-funded jaunts that this quote knocked me off my feet.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” —Mark Twain
No less accurate is his quote from On Life, "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." but these are days that can occur at home. One by definition would occur where you are from, but the other may well be after you have begun to knock the prejudices of our upbringing off of your character. But by that point we should realize a little better what Hemingway was talking about.
"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." —Ernest Hemingway
In many ways this blog has become my own version of Innocents Abroad. I have chronicled my travels and noted my observations on employer funded, as well as personal funded, jaunts of various lengths, distances, and durations. As they began I felt uncomfortable. I could feel my comfort bubble if not bursting at least being left behind. In many ways I am more comfortable outside my bubble than I was inside it. Perhaps the most shocking revelation to me was a quote I stumbled upon more recently.
“The American is always an alien abroad. He never can assimilate nor do other peoples ever accept him otherwise than as a foreigner. His own heart is in his own country, and yet there is less and less of a niche for him when he returns.” —Herbert Hoover
Whether the comfort bubble has popped, expanded, or merely been exceeded, life outside is an incredible place to be. You never know what tomorrow may hold. You never know what is around the next corner. And you never know what may happen when you return back home. Rest assured though, as your world expands, your narrow-minded petty thoughts are wont to disappear.