Another Mantra of Mine
Be a Storyteller

In my previous essay, Alan Turing, I wrote about one of my litany of various mantras. One critically important mantra had to do with wanting my students to learn. Learning isn’t related to repeating something someone else said years ago. That is merely repeating something as if it contained the gospel of truth.

Thinking is up to the student’s usage of his or her brain. However, this mantra is equally essential. Every student has heard about my short mantra, TRAVEL. Now, I am not the first person that wrote about that mantra.

George Santayana was also a traveler. He was born in Spain a century and a half ago. However, he came to America and graduated from Harvard. Then went to Germany for several years and back to teach at Harvard. Toward the end of his life, he returned to Europe and died in Italy.


When he spoke to the school board convention, I got to the auditorium early to get a good seat. However, it was so early that many of the audience hadn’t been seated. As they slowly arrived, I decided to go to the stage and walked behind the curtain to see if I could meet Nader. There he was going over his notes. Being a wide-eyed liberal, I walked over to him and introduced myself to one of the great icons of social movements. We chatted for a couple of moments, and he seemed interested in talking with one of his followers. Then I went back to my seat and listened to him give his speech.

Santayana traveled a great deal and authored several dozen books, one of which was entitled, The Philosophy of Travel. This is from that book. “There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar: it keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor…A man who knows the world cannot covet the world; and if he were not content with his lot in it he would be showing little respect for all those alien perfections which he professes to admire.” He added, “A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.”


Ibn Battuta was born in Tangier, Morocco, in 1304 C.E. He was also known as Shams ad-Din. He was the son of a family of Berber judges and lawyers. Battuta was educated in Islamic law, but that wasn’t his calling. He wanted to travel. He began seeing the world in 1325. He traveled 75,000 miles throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, and east to as far as China. He went on three journeys.

The travels of Battuta

Battuta saw the value of traveling. He said of that adventure, “Traveling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

Moh Moh and Ti Ti’s trip was not quite as long as Battuta’s journey. They went to Wat Tham Sua, which means the Tiger Cave Temple.

They also visited the Emerald Buddha at the Grand Palace.

Their traveling brought back memories of my travel to Thailand. Then I realized that I forgot to mention to Moh Moh and Ti Ti to visit Erawan Waterfalls. When visiting Erawan, I was amazed at the many beautiful waterfalls there were in the large park. You start your journey of discovery and climb up the mountain visiting one waterfall after another. It is the most beautiful natural place that I have ever seen.

Battuta was correct, “Traveling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”


This is an excellent video about Ibn Battuta.

You will see the sheer beauty of the Erawan Waterfalls.