34 thoughts on “Travel in the early modern age

  1. Reina Datta

    Reading this article, I realize how much we take for granted, the amenities that we have in order to get us anywhere in the world. We have planes, trains, cars, and boats, and all of these are equipped with navigational tools, and tips on where to stop for lodging and food. Because of the advancements in medicine and healthcare, we don’t have to worry about getting diseases, or being attacked by man-eating insects. We have travelocity to ward us off 2 star restaurants instead of 3, while the travelers in the 13 and 1400’s had so much more to worry about. The section where they were advised on what to pack is especially enlightening, because we focus on climate change, and how many pairs of shoes to pack, while the travelers from long ago have to focus on survival essentials.

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    1. Ashley Robinett

      After reading this article I had the thought, “wow we are spoiled”. In modern times, people often travel as a luxury or for the experience. In the 1400s people traveled because it was necessary, and it was not an enjoyable experience. One part in particular that caught my attention was the discussion about souvenirs. In modern times travelers collect as much as they can from where they have ventured to, knowing that there’s great flexibility in what they can bring back, while at one point over-packing would have been considered life-threatening. Another interesting point was the topic of food (which is always interesting in my opinion.) The recommendation was a short list that included biscuits and other plain food items chosen specifically because they help in harsh conditions. Nowadays half the fun of traveling is enjoying the variety of food. I would say that advancements in technology have allowed travel to become an enjoyable luxury as opposed to a necessary evil.

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    2. Lauren Rainford

      I found this article to be incredibly entertaining. As a history major, I understand the importance of learning from mistakes in the past and taking historical advice on travel is incredibly applicable today. I definitely need to listen to Jean Zuallart as he warns about the price of overpacking… I move three times a year, once to school, then back home, then to my summer job in North Carolina so this advice is very helpful. On a more serious note, I do think it is important to recognize that even in the sixteenth century, Jean Zuallart understood the importance of tolerance. He states that is important to “adapt himself to the times, places and people with whom he finds himself and will have to converse, either rich or poor, noble or base, Christian, Jew, Turk, or Arab.” If only more people could enact this advice in their day to day life.

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  2. Karen Del Cid

    Traveling has a lot of benefits. Nowadays people across the world travel for pleasure, business, relaxation and also to learn about a culture and the history of a country. The effect of technology made diversity in means of traveling, which made it more convenient. Now, the distance between any two places in the world has become comparatively shorter. Traveling in the modern age was something to be put up with rather than having a good time. This article talked about the packing tips, what to wear, and what kind of snacks you could take to survive and I thought this was really interesting. We are spoiled because now we have a lot of commodities when traveling, starting from great menus, as of bringing as many packages we please and back then, taking too much stuff back home was life threatening. We can say that travelling, be it for business or for relaxation, has become a way of life rather than just a need.

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  3. Ellen Field

    Having read this article, it really makes you think about how much traveling and technology has changed over the years. To think that back in the 1300’s and 1400’s traveling meant having to play around with the chance of death and nowadays we can travel anywhere, anytime without fear of death but with the fear of having to sit next to the crying baby or the smelly neighbor. It’s fascinating to study history and to look back at how much the world has grown and changed through time. It makes one appreciate the advances in technology and medicine even if for a moment.

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  4. Emily MacIndoe

    This article really does show just how spoiled we are. Although many of the perils pilgrims confronted, like quicksand or an upset stomach, seem amusing to us today, back then these inconveniences could be dangerous or even fatal. It is difficult to imagine travelling in such cramped, uncomfortable quarters, while today we are accustomed to staying in private hotel rooms with nearly all the comforts of home. The image showing the story of John of Gaunt’s pilgrimage, recorded on parchment, is very interesting. It looks similar to the illuminated manuscripts we looked at in class. It is very exquisite, and with the gold leaf it was no doubt very expensive as well. I am sure this pilgrim, just like any other, met with many adventures and inconveniences along the way.

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  5. Sydney Andrews

    This article made me realize how lucky we are to live in a time where traveling is often viewed as an awesome adventure where we can see new places, people, and cultures with little fear that our well beings are indangered. The “what the pack” section was interesting to me because while we stress about having enough outfits or remembering to pack our phone chargers, they were concerned about packing too much and having survival essentials. It is very interesting and amazing to me how much technology has developed. We can travel on planes and in cars and people don’t have to fear that they won’t have food, or shelter, or that they might catch a deadly disease on the way to their destination.. because when people travel, it’s normal for leisure not because they have to. It’s very important to read an article like this and appreciate what those before us had to do just to survive and feel grateful where we are in technology and medicine now so that we can do the great things it has allowed us to be able to do.

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  6. Samantha Alvey

    I think its incredible how much traveling has changed since the medieval times. Our attitudes toward traveling have changed dramatically compared to those attitudes back then. Today traveling, or “wanderlust,” is seen as a magical enriching experience that should be valued. Yet, from reading this article, it seems back then it was a dangerous and often deadly thing to try. It was seen a something to do with extreme caution and to be almost avoided. If I had to guess, I would way this difference has come from the advances in technology that we have. These advances help to provide us with a safety that may often get taken for granted. During medieval times I would also imagine being able to own and read books, such as these traveling manuals, was a privilege many did not have. Not everyone would have been aware of the dangers due to not being able to access this information.

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  7. khadijah Johnson

    Reading this article made me realize how easy it is to pack today. I never really sit own to think about how hard it was for people during that time. The significance of the article is that it made me feel like I was lived in the 1400’s for. Brief moment. If I were to travel I would definitely pack a lot of money for food nd souvenirs. I also agree with packing a lot of shirts. The reason why is because if I do a lot of walking then I might sweat which will make me change. So I think it would be smart to pack two shirts for each day I’m away. Today we have advantage of having the internet. This means that we are able to research these places before we visit. For example we can look up places to visit and places to stay away from. In the 1400’s thy traveled with no idea what they were getting themselves into. So that being said they had to be ready to adapt to just about anything.

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  8. Rona

    It is obvious how our modern accommodations ease our voyage when traveling today but it is also clear how much we share with the pilgrims of the past. Although we have streamlined long distance travel with the invention of the airplane we still have difficulty with large baggage. I know from personal experience that after a long day of soaking in a good vacation I love to raid the gift shop and have much difficulty safety getting my trinkets home. Despite the time gap we still complain to the supervisor when our customer service representative doesn’t find our lost baggage;however, we don’t go so far as to kick him out of our religious affiliation. And much like Zuallart describes we still have to politely put up with the toddler in the back row kicking our seat to infinity and the idiot who won’t stop complaining about the movie thats playing in first class. So although it seems like we’ve eliminated the travel issues of the past we haven’t and as long as we continue to voyage they will always be there.

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  9. Rebekah Funkhouser

    It is crazy how simple as something as going to Chipotle would have been nearly impossible. It makes me realize how much of my travels in the US and out of it may have been taken for granted in the simplest ways. People would travel for the reasons we do today trade, exploration but a major one was a pilgrimage. The traveling tips are surprisingly relatable. When I went to Europe I overpacked cute but unnecessary outfits. The outfits I brought were great for pictures but not so great for walking around in the heat. Plus, it talks about not buying to many souvenirs which is almost impossible for me when I go to foreign countries.The article also mentions snacks which reminds me of how me and my family always stop to get a quick bite to eat on the road. Traveling has become a million times easier but yet the basic ideas for preparing for a trip are still used today.

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  10. Mona

    Reading this article gives me this new found appreciation for the way we travel. We take so much for granted! This article really makes you think about and see how technologies have changed over time. When I travel somewhere, my biggest worry is what I need to pack for my destination, not what I need to pack for the travel for the destination. Although its very different now, its also similar in a way. I do struggle with over packing however, I have the opportunity to look up where I’m going to see what I need to pack. My over packing is outfits, not things for survival. Back then it was all a risk, having no idea where they were going in result having no idea what to pack.

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  11. Laura Bufano

    I absolutely loved this article. I thought it was so funny how they compared traveling now to traveling back then. I also loved how we need to back one suitcase full of patience. This article also let me see how we take traveling for granted. We never have to worry about bring soap with us because our hotel has a laundry room. Or how we need to wear layers in order to be warm, since our boat or hotel has heat. Also, I over pack all the time, so having to just pack two suitcases would be really hard. I would never be able to fit my stuff in just one suitcase. I also need to bring back souvenirs from my trip, so my suitcase would be heavier when I came back. Luckily we have made a lot of progress in our travels.

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  12. Jim Bramnick

    The first ting i noticed about this article, to be completely honest, was its humor. I actually laughed when the article mentioned needing “laxytyves”. Now I do not know if he was meaning what we refer to today as laxatives or not but either it made me laugh. Anyway, The other thing i noticed about the article was its parallel with today. When you study something like art history or just history in general you tend to, at least I tend to, think of the things I am studying are unreal or fictitious even though subconsciously i know that they are actually real. They just feel not relate-able, however this draws a parallel to our daily lives that makes it so we can compare our lives with the peoples lives back then. For example, you can ask people all the time what is the best airline to take or how to get the best deals for a train ticket and they will give you advise on that, after reading this article I see that the same thing happened back then to the people then. This drew a parallel , for me, from my life to theirs and made me think of the them as people and not as a subject we study in a lecture hall.

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  13. Maureen Sullivan

    After reading this article I am even more thankful for our current modes of transportation. I loved how it explained that packing a big bag of patience was necessary for most journeys. It was very interesting, and also a little scary to learn about how they had to bring different types of foods to settle their already uneasy stomach. It was also interesting that they had to bring long jackets that practically touched the floor because even though it could be hot during the day, the cold nights made were like a completely different world. I am so thankful that we not only have safer and easier methods of transportation but that we have multiple that generally don’t make us take journeys on ships to reach our destinations, although I would have loved to experience a trip like that just for a day.

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  14. Kayla

    I found this article very interesting. It made me realize how easy traveling is in this day and age. We think its so dangerous but in reality, it isn’t nearly as dangerous as traveling methods back then. We have traffic and its annoying but I’d would rather sit in traffic than worrying about diseases and spastic weather. We do truly have everything given to us, and things are much more simple, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

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  15. Kathleen Elliott

    After reading this article, I don’t think I’ve ever been more grateful for a simple road trip. I think we take the way we travel for granted these days. Even though we say it’s complicated and stressful, after reading this article, I think it’s safe to say we have it pretty easy. The simple technologies we use for traveling these days, such as a GPS, would have made a world of difference back then, but that never even occurs to us. We just turn it on and continue on our merry way. My favorite part about this article was the juxtaposition of modern travel and early modern travel. Yes, there are few similarities such as not over packing, only packing the essentials, and of course, stashing some snacks in your bag, but the overall differences were amazing. For goodness sakes, at least we don’t have to worry about bringing a cage full of chickens with us wherever we go. Also, I’m so thankful that we don’t (usually) have to worry about quicksand when we travel these days.

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  16. Erica Parker

    I thought the article was very funny, but also very educational. I know there are many differences in the way we travel when we compare then and now. We have much more luxury, safer traveling options, and more sanitary conditions. We also have a lot of similarities. Traveling, even now, can be a huge task. You have to deal with other annoying people. We feel our seats are uncomfortable, and if you do not book ahead you may get a lousy seat. When we go to exotic places we are tempting to buy souvenirs to take home even though we know we do not have the extra room in our suitcases. We over pack, and are even sometimes less prepared than we should be. Just like then, travel still takes a huge amount of patience.

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  17. Alex Patzman

    This article really made me think about how travel has changed since the 12th century. I never really considered the reasons why peopled used to travel or the risks of traveling. Now, people travel because it is a luxury, because it is something to do, because there are places they want to see. We also don’t have to worry about the risks of traveling, or the inconvenience. In the 12th century they really had to think about what it is they brought with them, as well as the risk of illness or even death. I never really thought about travel as something that was inconvenient or dangerous, so I found this article really informative on how travel used to be and made me appreciate the way the world is now.

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  18. Emily Jewell

    We are very blessed for modern transportation now days. I could not imagine having to travel in the manner described in the article. While the article was written with a humorous tone, traveling in the 12th century was not a laughing matter. Before travel, people had to consider whether the journey was worth their life because it was so dangerous. It makes me appreciate the modern conveniences we have now.

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  19. Rachel James

    I can’t even imagine how stressful it must have been for pilgrims to have to worry about all the dangers of traveling back in those times. We really take our safe cars and planes for granted, it really doesn’t take long for us to get around these days. But back then, it must have been such a huge risk! I guess they figured that the potential benefits outweighed the danger and uncertainty of travel.

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  20. Madison Pons

    Before reading this article I hadn’t really thought about how people used to travel, mostly just about the destination. This article really revealed how much we take for granted with all of the luxuries we have while traveling. The humor that was incorporated offered parallels from today and back then which is VERY different. We don’t have to worry about so many things, like pirates and falling in quicksand. Back then people were traveling for religious reasons and to find other places now a days we are traveling for leisure and learning and there are so many things that help us along the way that we take for granted.

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  21. Maggie O'Connor

    After reading this article I was reminded of the how blessed I am. I was extremely disgusted with the conditions of the ship and how tolling the travel was. Its a great reminder of what I have. I am able to go any where and do anything because these people made this perilous journey. I can’t imagine traveling on this ship. I can’t rap my mind around it. We should be more grateful for the technological advancements.

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  22. Allison Skowronski

    After reading this article I realized that we take so many of our modern conveniences for granted. My trip from home to school is one hour but back in the 12th Century, that would be impossible for daily travel. It is always important to remember how far we have come and to not take what we have for granted.

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  23. Lostinwonderland

    After reading this article I realized, wow, it took them so long to get anywhere. When today we can just hop in a car and go to Starbucks. For them going anywhere wasn’t a pleasant walk, but a journey. Makes you wonder how it felt to be separated from loved ones, who were in walking measures, months apart. I bet this distance really strengthened the idea of relationships, because you would never really hear from them besides letters, or if they visited.

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  24. Ilana Bleich

    I really enjoyed this article! I found it an entertaining approach to a topic that I had never given much thought before: medieval travel tips. I like the idea that we travel for the same reasons as medieval people–for necessity, or because we want to see something different–even if the method we travel may not be exactly the same. Today, we can travel by plane, train, boat, and car. In the 1400’s, they would have never dreamed of that. However, again, I like that even though we can fly today, so many other things remain essentially the same. They had advice for how to pack, where to sit, what to wear, etc., just like advice we might find in a travel book today. This quote also struck me: a traveler must “adapt himself to the times, places and people with whom he finds himself and will have to converse, either rich or poor, noble or base, Christian, Jew, Turk, or Arab.” I think this is an important lesson for all travelers to take to heart. To travelers, the destination may be your home for a week, but for others, it is their home for life, and it is essential that we respect that.

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  25. Ellie A

    Reading this article, it really takes me “back in time.” I find it amazing how people used to sail everywhere to get where they needed to go. I could never imagine how exciting and terrifying it must have been for them. There are so many risks while sailing, and I feel like disease is one of the worst and most common. These people were truly brave. Reading this also makes me realize how much we take our means of traveling for advantage. Like, now we have cars and trains and whenever we need to cross an ocean, planes to fly on. Unless we want to take a cruise ship, we never even consider crossing the ocean by a boat because of our new inventions.

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  26. Noah Dewey

    The main point of this article that captured my attention was the amount of things these people had to be aware of just to do something that seems so common and easy in todays time. People in our day and age would never think to worry about giant bugs or robbers blocking the road, but to the travelers in the early modern age, this was a common occurrence.

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  27. Lily Van Horn

    This article serves as an enlightenment to our society, because the writer shows how industrialized and advanced we have become. We do not need to worry about the plagues they had back then with the medical advancement we have now.
    The only way I would get to where I wanted would be by a wooden boat, not by planes or cars that we have today. I would head to the United States with everyone else. I would pack lightly and wisely. I would follow Brasca’s advice of packing plenty of “t-shirts and one warm layer.”

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  28. Nicolette Vallee

    Today’s society takes so much for granted relating to means of traveling and never really stop to think about how difficult it was for generations before us. The fact that we can just hop on a plane to cross an ocean is so amazing in comparison to what they had to do in these times. Sickness is also never really a huge concern due to our medical advancements, however that was one of the biggest worries for these individuals.

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  29. Alli Diehl

    Reading this article really makes you think about how much we really take for granted. People usually travel today as a means of vacation, job, or a new start, etc. Today traveling is SO much easier. I have moved so much throughout my life. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard it would have been back then. I moved from the west coast to the east coast and I thought that that was difficult.

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  30. Mariela Valverde

    As soon as I saw the title of this article, I thought, “There’s no way that tips from hundreds of years ago could be remotely similar to tips for traveling today”. But I was wrong!
    I laughed to myself while reading this article because of how similar these tips are, such as “packing a bag of patience”, which we all need due to things that come up when we travel. Or packing food for the road, or having tolls.
    But I imagine how much more difficult it must have been traveling then. Not as much technology as today, such as knowing the weather forecast in an instant for anywhere in the world, or having flight statuses at our fingertips. Or even being able to communicate with loved ones while they journey on. I think this shows the type of society they lived in, probably more patience and willingness to wait.

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  31. Caroline Thompson

    After reading this article, I realized how much time and effort goes into traveling. Personally I love traveling and the fact I use some of the same tips people used centuries ago is pretty crazy because imagine how different it was to travel back then. Sailing on ships for weeks or months at a time to riding on horses or carriages. Now we can get on a flight and be from one country to another. We have it so good now that we have technology. Which technology is something that people couldn’t use back then to keep them occupied on those long journeys. Traveling the world does change you as stated in the article. Seeing new places, expiring new cultures, and meeting new people are all ways to understand the world in which we live in.

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  32. John Wray

    It goes to say that humanity has come a long way from what we used to be. There is still danger in travel of course because anything could happen.It is nothing compared to what people had to go through back then. People back then didn’t know what lay ahead of them, it was all a mystery. I don’t like it when people say we have it easy these days and make it seem like we would’ve near have survived back then. Humans evolve and technology evolves with them and millions of people had to suffer to where we are now and many had to die as well. It was their sacrifice that made the world a better place to live. We have earned the way we live now because we have grown as a single race of people and have learned from our mistakes.

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