Traveling Through Literature

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. ~ Mark Twain

Our lives are built around travel. Whether by car, train, or plane, we all have to travel to go from point A to point B. For some, this travel is enough, but for others, a larger scale of travel, world travel, is needed to feel complete.

Since I was young, I’ve had a passion for traveling. I was taken out of kindergarten during my first week to go to my cousin Allison’s wedding. This crushed my chances of ever getting perfect attendance, but it planted a seed that has grown bigger and bigger as I explore the world around me.

Sometimes travel is the answer to all of our questions. Do you want to know why Iceland is one of the happiest places on earth? For people like me and my grandfather, reading articles and books is not enough. We plan a trip to Iceland and get there by whatever means necessary. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to get answers from books because they are the only way to find the answers we need. I can’t go back in time to ask John and James Hardaway everything I need to know. I can’t ask them why they left England. I can’t ask them what inspired them to suffer on an overcrowded ship for a new beginning. I can’t ask them what they missed about England, who they left behind, or if they were glad to leave. Instead, I have to consult books and articles to find the missing pieces of the story.

I also have quite a few questions that Ancestry.com couldn’t answer. What drives me and my grandfather to travel? Is there some psychological reasoning behind the idea of wanderlust? And, what stirs up that wanderlust in the Hardaways? This bibliography is a way to find the answers to my questions and to research the topics that will bring me closer to my ancestors and my grandfather.

“English Civil Wars.”

Jane H. Ohlmeyer, Encyclopaedia Brittanica, Inc.

During my trip to England, I wanted to see everything. Four days was not going to be enough time to satisfy my curiosity. We visited the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace, the main attractions of London. I still wanted more. I believe that in order to see a country’s beauty you have to live like a local. I wanted to explore, but everyone else wanted to shop. They could care less about the history and culture of the country; they just wanted the top trends from Topshop.

Statue of Charles I (1600–1649) in Trafalgar Square

History is something that connects us to the places we visit. You can’t truly embrace a culture without learning about its past first. The Encyclopaedia Britannica article “English Civil Wars” helped me understand the atmosphere that John and James Hardway were escaping from when they can to America. England was experiencing political and religious unrest after the Thirty Years’ War. A series of civil wars between King Charles I and Parliament was changing the makeup of England. Parliament came out victorious and laid down the foundation of a new England. In compensation for help from the Scots, Parliament introduced Presbyterianism to Anglican England, and King Charles was executed for treason. Parliament became the new political face of England, and the monarchy was disbanded.

I find it interesting that the James and John Hardaway were first documented in America not long after King Charles I was executed. It makes me wonder whether they were Royalist supporters (supporters of the monarchy) who were not pleased with the new regime lead by Oliver Cromwell. Did my ancestors leave England to escape this conflict? Or, were they not happy with the results?

A Short History of England.

Reginald James White, University of Cambridge Press, 1967

Religious persecution led a group of Protestants to board the Mayflower and escape England for religious freedom. The Puritans landed in Massachusetts where they settled and, with the help of the natives, were able to build a new life. A similar settlement was made in Maryland by a group of Catholics. As a person who loves history, I know that you need to look into more than one source to get the whole story. I wanted to know more about the civil wars that led my ancestors to leave England for a fresh start in America. A Short History of England was the perfect resource for my research.

The book by Reginald James White was originally published in 1967. White’s documentation went further in depth about the English civil wars. His unique style of writing laid the information out as though it were a novel. He used a narrative voice to make the facts seem interesting and alluring. His writing seems to transport the reader back in time to that exact point in history. This made me feel as though I was sitting next to my ancestors watching all of these events unfold.

Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Putney, the location of the Putney Debates

In 1647, just a few years before the Hardaways arrived in America, the end of the first English Civil War terminated of the reign of King Charles I. The new government set out to write a new constitution for England. In order to do this, the two sides of the war sat down and made up a document called the Agreement of the People. This document gave religious freedom, new Parliaments every few years, and equality under the law. However, not everyone agreed on the document, and the Putney Debates began at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in order to come to a consensus. More demands including Catholics not being included in the religious freedom law were argued. Many versions were published between 1647 and 1649 before the Parliamentarians, who won the war, decided on a different document, the Heads of Proposals. The laws in it were more strict than those in the Agreement. A couple of the new propositions stated that Royalists, who lost the war, had to wait five years to run for office and that the standing Parliament would set a date to usher in the new Parliament. These new rules were harsh on the government and the people possibly leading to James and John departing England for freedom.

History.”

Charles City County

On a trip to San Diego with my high school’s marching band, we were heading to a parade practice in Chula Vista. We were about 5 minutes out when our bus driver pointed out in the distance and said, “See those mountains? That’s Mexico.” I’ve only had that experience one other time in my life: when my family visited the Outer Banks for my grandparents 50th anniversary.

We took a Jeep tour of Corolla, the upper tip of the Outer Banks. Our tour guide was a humorous man who loved the nature and the beauty of Corolla. He made sure that we saw wild horses and got to mess around on the giant sand dunes. He even took our family photos and cracked a few jokes at my aunt’s expense in the process. We stopped at one location right at the end of the islands, and our guide pointed out to sea. There was a blurry land mass stretched out on the horizon. “That,” he said, “is Virginia.” At the time, I didn’t care. I just thought it was another fun fact from our very knowledgeable tour guide. Now, I have to think ‘What if John and James Hardaway landed right there?’

The location of Charles City County on a map of Virginia

The first documentation of John and James Hardaway in America connects them to the settlement in Charles City County, Virginia. The article “History” on Charles City County’s website provides a view into the rich history behind the county’s motto,

“Four Centuries, Three Cultures, Two Rivers in One County”.

Charles City County was named after Charles I. During my family’s time there, the main way of life was tobacco farming. Later, logging and fishing would take over as Charles City County’s main industries. The land was the cornerstone of Native American, English, and Dutch settlements. Because of this, Charles City County prided itself in being, “ one of the first meeting grounds of three cultures — three cultures that have moved over the course of four centuries from confrontation to community. “ With two rivers and lots of farmland, the area was a paradise for early settlers. The Hardaways started their lives in Virginia as patent landowners whose job was to farm the land given to them in order to stay there. Because of my research into the history of Charles City County and my knowledge of the documentation of John and James’ patents, I can only guess that my ancestors were tobacco farmers at the start of their new journey here. This lifestyle probably lasted until a few generations later when the Hardaways moved again to Georgia.

“Colonial Immigration”

Ben Marsh, New Georgia Encyclopedia.

My family has been in Georgia for as long as my sister and I have been born. Though I do have some family as far out as Montana, most of the Hardaways are concentrated in Georgia. My grandfather is completely content with his life in Georgia. It’s not as hot as Florida nor does it get hit by hurricanes quite as often. He may miss Florida and North Carolina, but Georgia is home in more ways than one. He was born here like many of his ancestors before him and most of his children and grandchildren after him, but it is also the heart of the Hardaway family. Though James and John originally landed in Virginia, the Hardaways have lived in Georgia since it became a royal colony.

Map of the Southern Colonies’ borders in 1776

According to the “Colonial Immigration” article, Georgia was first colonized as a trusteeship with more immigrants from Europe pouring into the state than migrants from other colonies. James Oglethorpe, one of the original Trustees, founded Savannah and became the de facto leader of the colony. Georgia was also meant to be a buffer from Spain in Florida. Oglethorpe’s military knowledge helped him command colonial militias to defend against the Spaniards in the south. In the early 1750s, the colony came under the control of the British monarchy. Migration from other colonies, mainly from North and South Carolina, started to increase. Colonists were “attracted by the prospect of cheap and fertile lands.” These settlers were younger and had families. They also brought their slaves from their previous plantations. All of which drastically increased the population of Georgia.

This article is interesting because it made me think about the migration from Virginia to Georgia in the sense of travel. Back then, there were no moving vans and cars. They were less attached to material things and had less baggage than we do now, but the strain would have been ten times greater. They were picking up their entire lives and moving it to an unknown location by horse and buggy. They had no idea what this new challenge would hold. The article suggests that migrants were more adjusted for the seasons and climate changes in America, but it would still have been challenging to once again go from a life already set up in Virginia to nothing in Georgia.

“Psychology of Travel”

Karl Basada, Prezi.com

I find it amazing how psychology can answer every question that begins with, “Why?” Why do we feel certain emotions at certain times? Why can we remember some things better than others? Why is attachment and family so central to our lives? All of these questions have at least one psychological answer. So, in order to answer my question ‘Why do we travel?’ I did some research into the psychology of travel. My research brought me to a Prezi presentation by Karl Basada.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Basada says that there are four types of motivators for why we travel: physical, cultural, interpersonal, and status/ prestige motivators. A physical motivator is something that affects our body. Curiosity about a country’s customs, language, or traditions can be a cultural motivator. If you want to make friends on a trip, then you have interpersonal motives for taking your trip. Finally, status and prestige deal with business trips, conventions, or any type of development whether work related or spiritually. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is at the center of Karl Basada’s presentation. The bottom tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy, where Basada focuses his time, suggests that we focus most of our attention on our physiological needs rather than on our safety, social needs, self-esteem, and self-actualization.

John and James’ were motivated by status and prestige. They crossed the Atlantic in order to personally develop in the New World and to start a new life. Basada would argue that they needed to physically escape England. The land they would find in Virginia would offer food, water, and money. Al of these things would keep them physically healthy. However, I would disagree with Basada and say that they traveled for their own safety, not for physiological needs. They chose the most safe thing to do for themselves. They left a corrupt, conflict-ridden area in order to seek the safe shelter that would, in turn, give them the physiological needs they needed. My grandfather and I travel for cultural and interpersonal reasons. We do prioritize our physiological needs, but I feel as though we are striving to fulfill that stage of self-actualization. We try to achieve that final stage through travel in hopes that traveling the world will help us reach our full potential.

The Complete History of Ships and Boats: From Sails and Oars to Nuclear-Powered Vessels.

Robert Curley, New York: Britannica Educational Pub. in Association with Rosen Educational Services

Cruise ship for Disney Cruises, the modern day passenger vessel

My sister and mom have been pushing for my family to go on a cruise together, but I don’t think I would be able to handle a long stint at sea. I enjoy the occasional boat ride on the lake, but being stuck out in the middle of the sea with nowhere to go and no one to help you…no, thank you. I would rather just jet off to some Caribbean island. However, our ancestors had no choice but to sail across the Atlantic on an overcrowded ship with none of the amenities of cruise ships today. They didn’t have the same luxury options we do now. As I looked into the conditions that they faced, my respect for them only grew.

According to The Complete History of Ships and Boats: From Sails and Oars to Nuclear-Powered Vessels by Robert Curley, most of the ships used during colonization were merchant ships typically used to store cargo in order to transfer passengers to the New World and bring back the resources acquired there. On top of being weighed down with passengers, the ships had a standard crew and cargo going to the colonies in order to sustain the colonists. All of this combined brought the ships over capacity. Unlike the motorized ships today, the ships ran on wind power making voyages even more long and tedious. Curley uses the Mayflower as an example stating that it “had taken 66 days to cross the Atlantic in 1620.” Curley states that ships grew larger with the larger trade demands. They were also being built with larger sails to go faster. For that reason, the ship my ancestors sailed across the Pond in would have been a bit larger than the Mayflower, and they probably would have reached America in a little less than 66 days.

Replica of the Mayflower found at the Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts

With ships being over capacity, there were more problems than just little space. The tight spaces would have made it easy for germs and disease to spread rapidly. The idea of discomfort is also not as pleasing as a bedroom to oneself on a cruise ship. Food and water would have been rationed instead of buffet-style. Needless to say, my ancestors would not have been as “comfy-cozy” as we are today.They struggled and faced the chances of not reaching the New World at all in order to escape the life they knew and start fresh. I can barely stand a 10 hour plane ride. A 66 day boat ride would have been terrible in comparison. Robert Curley gave me the respect I need for my ancestors for the sacrifices they made to give their future family a better life.

“Cotton Pickin’ Fair Fares Well for Vendors, Buyers”

By Joey Ripley for WRBL

Luthersville: Blink twice, you might miss it.

My grandfather comes from a small town in Meriwether County, Georgia, called Luthersville. My grandmother is from Cairo, Georgia. So, I am a small town girl at heart. We may live in the suburbs, but my summers were spent enjoying the outdoors at my great-grandparents’ house off a little dirt road in the middle of nowhere. Both of my grandparents come from small town backgrounds, but they both dream bigger. They both love the small town life, but they push that all aside to travel and see the larger picture of the whole world. My grandfather is a curious person, and he loves adventure. But, he also loves where he came from. As they say, you can take the man out of the small town, but you can’t take the small town out of the man.

The Cotton Pickin’ Fair is a bi-annual affair in Gay, Georgia, which is just about 20 minutes from Luthersville. It is an arts, antiques, and crafts festival. The fair is meant to showcase Meriwether County as a friendly, inviting place to live while also promoting local businesses. These vendors sell their goods to those who stop by for the food and music. With one festival in the fall and one in the spring, the Cotton Pickin’ Fair is one of the main events in Meriwether County. Setup on an old cotton farm, the fair brings in lots of people who just want a little taste of small town life even if it is just for a few hours.

When I stumbled across this, I thought it would be just another weird community festival. In Cairo, I have been to the Rattlesnake Round-up, and I know that the Gnat Festival isn’t too far away. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Cotton Pickin’ Fair is a lot more than just something fun for outsiders to enjoy; it is a promotion of local business and shows off the true pride of those who live in Meriwether. Small town living isn’t for everyone; some people can only take it for those few, short hours. But, I personally have found that small towns can be an addiction just like traveling. Once you have spent a significant amount of time in a small town, you have to go back even if it is just once or twice a year. It is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city or suburban life that provides that touch of charm everyone in the city is missing. It is also a great technology detox if you don’t have the right cell-phone provider like in Cairo where only Verizon can get you two bars of service.

Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen: Recipes from my Family to Yours

By Trisha Yearwood, Clarkson/Potter Publishers

Cooking has always been something that brings my whole family together. With multiple grandkids scattered all over Georgia, it is always fun for my grandparents to get all of us together for dinner. Recipes from the Hardaway family and the McKowns come together to make one meal that represents both middle and southern Georgia. One of my grandmother’s staples is broccoli salad. Most of us grandkids like it, so it usually graces the table with its presence during our dinner parties. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a regional dish. Trisha Yearwood had almost the exact same recipe in her cookbook, Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen: Recipes from my Family to Yours.

Trisha Yearwood’s cookbook that brings a sense of home to any South Georgia table

Trisha Yearwood grew up in a town called Monticello, Georgia, which is almost an hour and a half from Luthersville. Her cookbook features several recipes that I have grown up seeing at my grandparents’ table. Her broccoli salad replaces my grandmother’s chopped grapes with raisins, but other than that is an exact replica of one of my favorite dishes from my grandparents’ kitchen. Another favorite of mine featured in her cookbook is cheese straws. The level of spice is different for everyone, but the main components remain the same across the board.

This book represents the sense of home that my grandfather tries to keep constant no matter where he goes. Though he is an adventurous person, he can be a picky eater, so coming home and cooking a good ole southern meal is the perfect way to relax after a trip. An even better way is to invite your whole family over to eat with you. I know I wouldn’t be opposed…

“Learn to Travel

By Robin Esrock

The best place to look for any kind of inspiration is TED Talks. I have seen many on different subjects such as literature and how it shapes our lives. So, I was expecting to see several results when I typed in travel, but I was not expecting to get as many results as I did. There are so many different categories of travel for TED Talks. I could find one on science, psychology, or writing. The one that caught my eye though was “Learn to Travel”. My first thought was, ‘Why does anyone need to learn to travel? You just go.’ But, when I watched it, I found out that it wasn’t about just learning to travel; it was about learning to let go in order to travel.

Robin Esrock at TEDxVancouver

Robin Esrock has written several books about his adventures while traveling, and his TED Talk shows his expertise. What most people don’t know is that he started his life in a regular nine-to-five job like most. He begins his segment by talking about how most view travel as irresponsible; dropping everything to travel is mad. However, we are all getting older, and we are all changing. Therefore, we need to travel while we can. Esrock goes on to talk about what he has learned by traveling and seeing how great the world really is. Overall, I learned that travel may seem irresponsible, but if we really want to go, we have to take that leap of faith.

My ancestors took the leap of faith they needed to in order to come to America. They decided that their world was changing, and didn’t like it. They weren’t getting any younger, and they needed to take the trip while they were still able to handle the struggles of going across the ocean and setting up a life with nothing. Esrock dropped everything he had that was sustaining him and decided to discover the world. He is now making more than he ever did before just like James and John Hardaway were much happier in America than they were before. My grandfather is the exact same way. Though he waited until after his retirement instead of quitting his job, I can tell that he is at his happiest now. And, I would like to believe that travel is the reasoning behind that happiness.

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

By Rolf Potts, Villard Books New York

My grandfather never thought to make travel a career; he waited until he retired to dip his whole foot in. I, however, want to travel for work and see the world through a professional lens and a personal one. When my grandparents would come back from their exotic trips around the globe, I would go through a phase where all I read was travel books. I came across Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel last year, but I never got around to reading it until now. I realized quickly that even though my grandfather doesn’t want to travel full-time, it still applies to him and the way that he travels. He doesn’t let a weekend trip feel like a weekend trip. He wants to make it seem like he has all the time in the world. My Maine trip flew by in a blink of an eye, but there wasn’t one second that I wasn’t excited for what came next even though every second meant I was closer to the trip ending.

Rolf Potts has a very interesting way of looking at travel. I guess that is why he calls his book “an uncommon guide”, but he has a way of making sure everything makes perfect sense. His first chapter is “Declaring Independence”. It raises the internal question ‘What I need to free myself from?’ How can I break free from society’s constant rules and regulations? James and John needed to break free from political oppression; my grandfather needs to break free of doing the same-old every single day. The book continues to go step-by-step through how he made his way to becoming a full-time vagabond. He probably has a lifetime worth of tips and stories, but he tries his best to consolidate it into one book. He does a great job of laying out the realities of traveling and how it changes your life.

Harry Hardaway, my grandfather, snowmobiling in Yellowstone

My grandfather practically lives this book in 3 to 7-day increments. When he goes on a trip, he goes all out. He does tours, wanders around, and tries to cram all the knowledge he can into his head. He comes back with a wealth of street and book knowledge that he didn’t have before. For him, it is as simple as learning as much as he can in a trip. He finds his niche in every place he goes, and he tries to stray from the norm and be adventurous. My grandfather is a part-time vagabond in his own right like Rolf Potts, and I hope to find a happy medium between the two.

“Pick Up That Bag, Ya Big Lug”

By Steven Hendrix for the Washington Post

A picture my grandfather took of Big Sky, Montana

The one thing I have learned from watching my grandfather and reading travel blogs is that you can’t be lazy to travel. You have to be proactive. Adventures are not made by sitting on the couch with a bag of potato chips watching Netflix. I find it very interesting that so many people are fine with just daydreaming because they don’t want to get up. My grandparents started their journeys by going on annual ski trips to Montana. They may have slowed down as they got older but they have not stopped. My grandfather once wanted to go to Peru just so he could climb up to Machu Picchu. He has always been active which has shown me that you have to take action to travel. My ancestors took action. They got up and decided that America would be a better place to live. Because they did that, my grandfather and I can take action too. We can get up, explore the world, and make the world better by becoming more knowledgeable about the world.

In “Pick Up That Bag, Ya Big Lug”, Steven Hendrix uses the metaphor of rolling around carry on bags to show how lazy the world is becoming and how fast we conform to our surroundings. His idea is that small rolling carry-ons are two things: excessive and a burden to yourself and everyone else around you. Hendrix says that a rolling carry-on should not be necessary; you don’t need to put that much in a carry on. You should be able to only put as much in your bag as you can carry. His example is bringing way too many shoes for a short trip. But, he also sees a more philosophical approach to the subject. He sees carrying around too much as a reflection on ourselves. We should only take as much as we can carry personally. Once it reaches that limit, we will not be as happy as we think we are. His strong dislike for the concept of rolling carry-ons and what it means for our society is amusing. He sees them as just one more step towards becoming more materialistic and overall weak due to our laziness.

My favorite paragraph is the second to last. It states:

“I hope we serious wanderers can all agree on this: How you comport yourself during travel has a huge effect on the quality of your trip. We know that whiners, prima donnas and scaredy-cats don’t have much fun on the road; they are too easily buffeted by the inevitable little turbulences of travel — the canceled flights, the alarming toilets, the rooms that have a better view of the dumpster than the ocean.”

In this part, he is describing the perfect traveler. Someone who doesn’t complain, is not excessive, and is adventurous and laid back. He is describing my grandfather to a tee. He is also describing the traveler that I want to be. I want to be the traveler that is happy and is not carry around too much both personally and physically. Like Steven Hendrix said, “Give me that venerable old L.L. Bean duffle with the worn but trusty shoulder strap, and I’ll be on my way…”

Photos: Famous Great Travelers

I have looked at travel through several lenses to explore the meaning and depth of the subject. I wanted to know more about the history of travel and the history of great travelers. This article helped me as a visual learner discover travel from the days of Homer to the present. My ancestors traveled in the 1600s in the time between Ibn Battuta (1304–1369) and Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826). They moved during a time of turmoil in their country which first brought the travel bug to the Hardaways. Their children would move to Georgia for fresh land, and the children after that would probably go on to travel the other states when inventions like the train came into play. Finally, my grandfather and I would travel for fun and knowledge. This article pinpoints some of the main reasons that the history’s greatest travelers explored the world from the days of traveling on foot or by horse to the age of cars, planes, and trains.

Through the lives of 10 iconic travelers, “Famous Great Travelers” is an article full of wanderlust and adventure. Starting with Homer, the journey travels all the way to the present through facts and books. Most of the people mentioned in the article have written a book or two about their travels because they felt the world needed to know about what everyone else is really like. One specific quote from Michael Palin, an English comedian, and star of Monty Python turned travel expert, stuck with me:

“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected for the rest of my life.”

This article hit a chord with me. It shows a mixture of men and women that traveled for their own reasons but were transformed by the effects of the experience so much that most of them traveled until they died or are still traveling.

I could not have found a better last source than this one. This article gave me role models and people to look up to as I continue down this path towards, hopefully, traveling the world. I now have books that I can read for inspiration and motivation. Books that could also lead me towards other people and other books to look into. My grandfather and I both love to travel so much that it is in our bones; it has become part of us. This article showed me how people just like us really did find happiness in travel.

View from our rented vacation home in Corolla for my grandparents 50th anniversary (2010)
Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Allison Little’s story.