Of Travel by Francis Bacon

The essay discusses Bacon’s views on travel. Bacon provides highly practical tips and ideas on the issue of travel in this article, which would be beneficial to an inexperienced traveller. According to him, travelling is an integral aspect of education for children and an enriching experience for adults. He urges anybody travelling to a distant place to first learn the language of the country they intend to visit. Young people should travel under the supervision of a tutor or a trustworthy servant who is fluent in the local language and has already visited the nation. The teacher or servant should be able to advise the young man on what sights to see in that country, who to meet, and what other benefits can be garnered from travel there.


Bacon also advises young people who embark on maritime expeditions to keep and write diaries, as there is little to see except the sky and the sea. However, they should not keep diaries while travelling by land, as there is so much to see and see. Bacon instructs us on the locations and scenes to see while travelling in a strange area. The most important places to visit in foreign countries are: princely courts, justice courts, churches, monasteries, monuments, walls and fortifications, harbours and shipping, houses and gardens, arsenals and other storehouses, exchanges and warehouses, libraries, colleges, and treasuries of jewels and rarities. A traveller should always have a guidebook with him that describes the country he is visiting. He should not remain in the same city for an extended period of time. He should relocate to a different part of town. When someone travels overseas, he should avoid his own countrymen and seek the company of the people he is visiting. He should make contact with the individuals he meets along the way, so they can assist him and learn about the things he enjoys. This manner, he avoids squandering time. He should avoid choleric and quarrelsome individuals. When he goes home, he should not forget the places and habits of the people with whom he lived, but should retain contact with them through letter writing to some of the connections he met there. He explains that travelling would be beneficial if it manifested itself in a man’s speech rather than his clothing or gestures. When discussing his trips, a man should appear contemplative rather than rushed to recount his adventures. He may learn some foreign manners, but he should not abandon his own. It is not acceptable for him to adopt foreign manners in place of his own ones.

This essay contains no superfluous information. There is no digression. Each sentence is connected to the subject. It is densely packed with material. There is no evidence of the learning evident in other pieces. It is devoid of Latin terms and phrases, classical references, biblical and historical allusions, and anecdotes. There are no figures of speech, and the language and tone are very straightforward. The manner is approachable; practically everyone can read, comprehend, and benefit from this essay.

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