At a dinner party, Ibarra was asked what made the greatest impression on him while he was traveling in Europe. His response:
Frankly, the surprising thing about these peoples, when you set aside everyone’s national pride…before visiting a country, I tried to study its history, its Exodus, so to speak, and in the end I found they all followed a common course. In every instance I noted that a people’s prosperity or misery lay in direct proportion to its freedoms or its inhibitions and, along the same lines, of the sacrifice or selfishness of its ancestors.”
The Franciscan gave a mocking laugh,
“It doesn’t seem worth it to waste all that money just to find out such an insignificant thing. Any schoolboy knows that.”
What is the purpose of traveling to learn something that can be read in a book? Is traveling a luxury or a necessity? Perhaps both when you have the means to because when there is a means, it seems like a waste of life to not go and see more of the world. A book requires trusting on someone else’s experience and reference frames. Besides, what is captured by a book years ago may have changed and there is value in being your own source of knowledge. Travel challenges oneself beyond the confines and safety of ink on paper.