Why Travel is Good for a Writer

Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. — Miriam Beard

My father was born under the sign of Sagittarius, the wanderer of the zodiac. . . . And though in astrology-speak, I have Sagittarius rising, I blame my wayfaring ways on my father. He’s the one who sat me down on the sofa with the invitation to “come have a look.” He spread the big green pre-World War II atlas across both our laps and took me on a tour of the world, page by page, map by map, finally coming to the solar system, the pictures of the planets bright against a deep, black sky. I tell him Venus is my favorite and that one day I want to go there. “I’ll be a Venusian,” I say.

The Universe,” Daddy says, tracing a finger over the inky expanse. “Nobody can say how it came to be or how big it is or where it begins or ends.” He and I fell quiet then, on that scratchy brown sofa, dreaming dreams of natural-born travelers.*

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