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A book should contain pure discoveries, glimpses of terra firma, though by shipwrecked mariners, and not the art of navigation by those who have never been out of sight of land.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
A man must generally get away some hundreds or thousands of miles from home before he can be said to begin his travels. Why not begin his travels at home? Would he have to go far or look very closely to discover novelties? The traveler who, in this sense, pursues his travels at home, has the advantage at any rate of a long residence in the country to make his observations correct and profitable. Now the American goes to England, while the Englishman comes to America, in order to describe the country.—Journal, 6 August 1851
A traveler who looks at things with an impartial eye may see what the oldest inhabitant has not observed.—Journal, 20 August 1851
Every sunset inspires me with the desire to go to a West as distant and as fair as that into which the sun goes down.—Journal, 21 November 1850
Give me the old familiar walk, postoffice and all, with this ever new self, with this infinite expectation and faith, which does not know when it is beaten. We'll go nutting once more. We'll pluck the nut of the world, and crack it in the winter evenings. Theaters and all other sightseeing are puppet-shows in comparison. I will take another walk to the Cliff, another row on the river, another skate on the meadow, be out in the first snow, and associate with the winter birds. Here I am at home. In the bare and bleached crust of the earth I recognize my friend.—Journal, 1 November 1858
How many things can you go away from? They see the comet from the northwest coast just as plainly as we do, and the same stars through its tail. Take the shortest way round and stay at home. A man dwells in his native valley like a corolla in its calyx, like an acorn in its cup. Here, of course, is all that you love, all that you expect, all that you are. Here is your bride elect, as close to you as she can be got. Here is all the best and all the worst you can imagine. What more do you want? Bear hereaway then! Foolish people imagine that what they imagine is somewhere else. That stuff is not made in any factory but your own.—Journal, 1 November 1858
I cannot but regard it as a kindness in those who have the steering of me that, by the want of pecuniary wealth, I have been nailed down to this my native region so long and steadily, and made to study and love this spot of earth more and more. What would signify in comparison a thin and diffused love and knowledge of the whole earth instead, got by wandering? The traveler's is but a barren and comfortless condition. Wealth will not buy a man a home in nature-house nor farm there. The man of business does not by his business earn a residence in nature, but is denaturalized rather.—Journal, 12 November 1853
I have been making pencils all day, and then at evening walked to see an old schoolmate who is going to help make Welland Canal navigable for ships round Niagara. He cannot see any such motives and modes of living as I; professes not to look beyond securing certain "creature comforts". And so we go silently different ways . . .—Journal, 17 March 1842
I must walk toward Oregon, and not toward Europe.—"Walking"
I want nothing new, if I can have but a tithe of the old secured to me. I will spurn all wealth beside. Think of the consummate folly of attempting to go away from here! When the constant endeavor should be to get nearer and nearer here!—Journal, 1 November 1858
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