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Oscar Wilde wrote that "travel improves the mind" — and we couldn't agree more.

Kate Bratskeir
Updated February 18, 2019

Oscar Wilde was a theatrical Irish writer whose work was venerated in London in the 1890s. Wilde married in 1884 and had two children, but was sentenced to two years in jail after being found guilty of “homosexual misconduct,” a criminal offense at the time. Those who praised him and his work loved him for his wit; when he arrived in New York City after committing to lecturing in the U.S., for example, he said he had “nothing to declare but his genius.”

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An eccentric rule-bender, Wilde embodied the movement known as aestheticism, which encouraged people to live for the sake of art, or to do art for art’s sake. He gained a bit of a following with this philosophy. The first duty in life is to be as artificial as possible," he wrote in “Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young.”

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His plays were subversive and clever, filled with irreverent social commentary that challenged the status quo in ways that delighted some people, but shocked others. He lived his life in ways that were true to himself rather than adhering to societal norms, and much of his writing reflects this. Below are just a few excerpts that might inspire being true to oneself, in both travel and adventure.

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“Travel improves the mind wonderfully, and does away with all one’s prejudices.” ― Oscar Wilde, “The Happy Prince and Other Tales”

“Any place you love is the world to you.” — Oscar Wilde, “The Happy Prince”

“No better way is there to learn to love Nature than to understand Art. It dignifies every flower of the field. And, the boy who sees the thing of beauty which a bird on the wing becomes when transferred to wood or canvas will probably not throw the customary stone.” — Oscar Wilde, “Essays and Lectures”

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” — Oscar Wilde, “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”

“Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.” — Oscar Wilde, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” — Oscar Wilde, “The Importance of Being Earnest”

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