“I saw in their eyes something I was to see over and over in every part of the nation- a burning desire to go, to move, to get under way, anyplace, away from any Here. They spoke quietly of how they wanted to go someday, to move about, free and unanchored, not toward something but away from something. I saw this look and heard this yearning everywhere in every states I visited. Nearly every American hungers to move.”

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

4 responses to “”

    • I think it’s pretty true…Americans have always kind of had a ‘westward ho’ mentality. We seem to want to be moving forward in some way, always kind of looking for the next step of the path. When John Steinbeck said that he wanted to take a year and travel the country with his dog and meet all the different people he could, he was told that was a crazy idea because everyone would know who he was. But he said that he was a writer not a celebrity and no one would recognize him. So he went off and wrote about all the people in every corner of America that he met on this great road trip. I would say this book is probably my absolute favorite book that he wrote because of the genuine and open look at the real people of the country.

      • Interesting! The impression we’re given over here is that people in, for instance, the deep south, live in isolation and are a bit detached from the rest of the country…and indeed the world. Surprising to think that they would be always looking to move on.

  1. I think there are some small groups here and there that live pretty isolated. The Amish communities in the north are another example of people who stick to themselves. But I think the majority of people have a desire to move, to see new things and experience new things. Even if the move is only a visit and then return to home afterwards, we like to feel that we can move and do and grow. It’s always a little difficult to really generalize though since there are so many different cultures that are all found in one country or even in one state.

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