The Dharma Bum's Passport Photo and the Value of Wanderlust

Posted by Yasha Wallin



Jack Kerouac, author of On the Road, Dharma Bums, and Mexico City Blues, was as famous for his revered novels as for his love of travel. If anyone could inspire wanderlust it's Kerouac, with prose like “What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Kerouac made New York home after earning a football scholarship to Colombia University, but he later went on to persue experiences far and wide. Though he made the American road trip famous with On the Road, he also enjoyed the likes of Morocco, Paris, and Mexico, and wrote about these experiences in the Lonesome Traveler.



We stumbled upon Kerouac's passport photo, which was a reminder of the role travel played in his life and work. Being on the road was his lifeline. This week on GOOD we're encouraging everyone to be more engaged citizens of the world by getting—or using—your passport to discover new people, places and cultures. But don't take our word for it, Kerouac's description of adventure is more eloquent: “I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.”

Passport image courtesy of Tumblr

This post is part of the GOOD community's 50 Building Blocks of Citizenship—weekly steps to being an active, engaged global citizen. This week: Get a Passport. Follow along and join the conversation at good.is/citizenship and on Twitter at #goodcitizen.