Fantastic Voyages – It’s All a Matter of Perspective (Part 1 of 3)

Summer is a time of wonder, of adventure, of going to see what there is to see. So what are we all sitting around for? Here are some literary examples of fantastic summer travels to help inspire you to get out there and experience June.

Note: Pay no attention to the fact that all of the examples are of adventures that were unintended/completely involuntary. You should still go outside. Just, maybe start small…

I know! You could go to the library! Safe, close by and air-conditioned but still full of things to see and to learn. It’s perfect!

In the meantime, here is your first fantastic voyage.

By the summer of 1703, Lemuel Gulliver already knew that the world was a much larger (or smaller, as the case may be) and stranger place than most people ever imagined. It had been about a year since he had finally returned home after his first lengthy sea journey; a journey that had resulted in him being shipwrecked and stranded in the nation of Lilliput, being a nation populated entirely by people who were less than 6 inches tall. His experiences there (including his eventual fall from imperial favor and subsequent arrest and escape) are probably the best known and most retold of his adventures but they were far from his only. In fact, another one was to begin soon for, having been at home for 12 whole months, he was starting to get antsy.


Gulliver Exhibited to the Brobdingnag Farmer (painting by Richard Redgrave)

On June 17, 1703, Mr. Gulliver and his most recent crewmates put ashore on an uncharted coastline to explore and forage. This ended pretty abruptly when 70 foot tall giants chased the entire shore party back to their row boats, all of them except Gulliver that is. After spending time as a giant among the Lilliputians poor Gulliver now found the situation completely reversed. The intrepid ship’s surgeon remained stranded on the island of giants (he would find out soon enough that the place was called Brobdingnag) until he “escaped” when a giant eagle snatched him (and the room/cage he was in – he had become the human equivalent of a purse dog for the Brobdingnagian queen) and flew him out to sea.

He did not go straight home. There were many more highly improbable islands and people to meet. He, in fact, did not make it home once and for all for another 12 years. Take that Odysseus.

Intrigued? You can check out the rest of the story, and the bits I glossed over, in Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. You know where you can pick it up.

So, even if it doesn’t exactly make you want to take up sailing anytime soon, I hope that Gulliver inspires you to at least make your way to the library. Maybe take the scenic route on the way here – you never know what you might find.


Author’s Birthday – Here comes December

William Blake (b. November 28, 1757, London, UK; d. August 12, 1827, Westminster, UK)

Fine looking gentleman“If the Sun and Moon should ever doubt, they’d immediately go out.” You can find more quotes here.

What you should read: Songs of Innocence and of Experience

For more information on William Blake, click here.


Rita Mae Brown (b. November 28, 1944, Hanover, PA)

CATS!!!“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Wish You Were Here

For more information on Rita Mae Brown, click here.


Louisa May Alcott (b. November 29, 1832, Philadelphia, PA; d. March 6, 1888, Boston, MA)

Oh, Louisa May“Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.” You can find more quotes here.

What you should read: Little Women

For more information on Louisa May Alcott, click here.


C.S. Lewis (b. November 29, 1898, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK; d. November 22, 1963, Oxford, UK)

Not how I pictured him. I thought he would look more... lion-y“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Out of the Silent Planet

For more information on C.S. Lewis, click here.




Jonathan Swift (b. November 30, 1667, Dublin, Ireland; d. October 19, 1745, Dublin, Ireland)

Hmmm. He doesn't look like he'd be very fast.“Where there are large powers with little ambition… nature may be said to have fallen short of her purposes.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: Gulliver’s Travels

For more information on Jonathan Swift, click here.


Mark Twain (AKA Samuel Clemens) (b. November 30, 1835, Florida, MO; d. April 21, 1910, Redding, CT)

The man.“There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

For more information on Mark Twain, click here.


Winston Churchill (b. November 30, 1874, Blenheim Palace, UK; d. January 24, 1965, London, UK)

The British man.“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” You can find more quotes here.

What you should read: The Gathering Storm

For more information on Winston Churchill, click here.



T.C. Boyle (b. December 2, 1948, Peekskill, NY)

I don't know where to start“The compulsively readable events of my life occurred mainly in infancy, and it’s been pretty humdrum ever since.” Find more quotes here.

What you should read: The Tortilla Curtain

For more information on T.C. Boyle, click here.


Joseph Conrad (b. December 3, 1857, Berdychiv, Ukraine; d. August 3, 1924, Bishopsbourne, UK)

Looks like a solid guy“I don’t like work… but I like what is in work – the chance to find yourself. Your own reality – for yourself, not for others – which no other man can ever know.” You can find more quotes here.

What you should read: Heart of Darkness

For more information on Joseph Conrad, click here.