Is traveling linked to rebellion? Is traveling linked to rebellion?  

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kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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[The universe is a sort of book, whose first page one has read when one has seen only one's own country. I have leafed through a great many that I have found equally bad. This inquiry has not been at all unfruitful. I hated my country. All the oddities of the different people among whom I have lived have reconciled me to it. Should I gain no other benefit from my travels than this, I will have regretted neither the pains nor the fatigues. (Fougeret de Monbron (1753))]

This is one of the epigraphs that grace the beginning of the "Preface to Cantos I-II" of Byron's Childe Harold. If it can be supposed that the epigraph speaks Byron's own mind on his feelings about his travels, it might be concluded that he is asserting the opposite. Monbron, who might be seen as reflecting Byron's own thoughts, implies he traveled because he was already rebellious, not that travel produced a consequential rebellion where none existed beforehand. If this is taken as an indication of Byron's thoughts--and the nature of an epigraph indicates that we should--then Byron associates the desire to travel with a rebellious impetus; he does not associate travel with the production of newly felt rebellion. Monbron also implies that travel softens the rebellious feelings and brings about a sense of acquiescence, if not acceptance, Thus Byron indicates that his travels brought him some reconciliation with the problems that formerly caused him rebelliousness. In short, Childe Harold seems to assert travel quells preexisting rebellion, not that it inspires new rebellion.

 

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Travelling, especially as a youth, can certainly add to a person's rebellious nature. Since then, I have travelled extensively (18 trips to Europe), and I have seen both how much better life is in America; and how each and every country has something to offer that would make a better United States if it were taken to heart. Vacation travel is a great way to forget about work, and many travellers adapt the "what stays in Vegas" approach to lower their inhibitions in foreign lands. Travelling can also be dangerous, and it is just this uncertainty that appeals to many people.  

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In reply to Post #5: Childe Harold's Pilgrimage is a fabulous example of how travelling can be linked to rebellion, as is the life of Lord Byron himself. Both Byron and the character he created sought to break free of the constraints of the society they lived in by travelling throughout Europe. Like many other Romantics, Byron later participated (or planned on participating before he died) in the Greek Revolution, which they identified in highly romanticized terms as a struggle against oppression. The point is that people can rebel against something even by temporarily escaping it. 

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I can absolutely understand the premise of this post, and I agree with many of the comments above.  With that being said, I think traveling is often linked with building deeper relationships and strengthening bonds as much as it linked to rebellion.

Families go on vacations every year and it is often the only chance they have to connect on a personal level with each other without the distractions of life.  It has been chronicled as one of the best ways to build parent-child relationships.  When people get married they traditionally go on a honeymoon to celebrate their marriage, and later in life trips are taken to reconnect with family members for holidays.

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I was thinking more in terms of on a national level, that traveling can be linked to rebellion because when people go to other countries they see what they do not have.  Then they might be more inspired to try to make changes.  At the same time, I think that this might be true of kids too, as they see what they don't have.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are at least two ways that it could be.

First, it could be that travel causes rebellion.  It could be that people travelling from an oppressed land to a place where there was less/no oppression would come home wishing to rebel.  This was the case, for example, with many African Americans who got a taste of life beyond the South and/or beyond the United States in WWI and WWII.

Second, it could be that rebellion causes travel.  This would have been the case to some extent for people like the American emigre authors such as Hemingway and Fitzgerald in Paris in the 1920s.

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mizzwillie's profile pic

mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Traveling outside of your own small part of the world is an eye opening experience which I would highly recommend.  Views long held may change when you see other parts of the world, how they live, and what is important to them.  Another part of the experience is to see the extreme poverty in so many parts of the world which is beyond belief depending on where you are from.  To see wasted food, wasted water, wasted wealth can be a source of anger or it can be a spur to action.  Seeing the freedom foreigners have to both speak their minds and do as they wish can also inspire the desire for freedom in their own countries. I believe that traveling is not linked to rebellion but is a source of new thinking. In that sense, there may be a link between the two, but I don't see it as a direct link.  Having traveled in Europe and lived in parts of South America, I think of travel as a positive experience for bringing the world together.   

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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If someone feels like rebelling against his or her parents, running away might be an option the person chooses, but this would not be considered traveling. Traveling--taking journeys to desirable locations--would only be available for someone with a fair amount of resources such as money and a car. An older person, experiencing a midlife crisis, might choose to take a road trip or sail around the world, so I guess that could be considered rebellion. However, most people tend to think of rebellion as a more overt act of inappropriate choices.

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