John W. Gardner: Why We Need to Travel

John W. Gardner (1912-2002), was Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, the only Republican in the Lyndon B. Johnson administration.  Gardner had an illustrious career in public service and was a life-long advocate for education.  He was also an important author.

In his book Self-Renewal:  The Individual and the Innovative Society, Gardner writes:

As the years go by we view our familiar surroundings with less and less freshness of perception.  We no longer look with a wakeful, perceiving eye at the faces of people we see every day, nor at any other features of our everyday world.

That is why travel is a vivid experience for most of us.  At home we have lost the capacity to see what is before us.  Travel shakes us out of our apathy, and we regain an attentiveness that heightens every experience.  The exhilaration of travel has many sources, but surely one of them is that we recapture in some measure the unspoiled awareness of children.

Gardner, as an author received mixed reviews on his books.  According to an obit:

He was the author of many books, with titles like ”Excellence,” ”Self-Renewal,” ”Morale” and ”On Leadership,” and he sometimes sounded like a preacher. Some critics called his books utopian and vague; even his friends thought he was a bit too moralizing. But many readers found his books inspirational. ”Self-Renewal” was translated into eight languages.

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