Explore. Dream. Discover.
Many of you will be familiar with these three words. Explore. Dream. Discover. They are taken from the end of a quote which is attributed to Mark Twain. I see it a lot. It’s a very popular quote and one which adorns the profile of many a sailor on Lovesail. Here is the quote in its entirety:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
It is a lovely quote, a metaphor for change. To those of us that love the sea, it is particularly inspiring. It fills the head with romantic thoughts of escaping the drudgery of humdrum lives, to have the freedom to pursue adventures and discover exotic places all whilst under sail. What an intoxicating way of life it alludes to.
Did Mark Twain Explore Dream Discover?
Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in 1935 in the small town of Florida, Missouri. He grew up in the banks of the Mississippi river and when his father died when Clemens was only 11 years of age, he began an apprenticeship with a printing firm. He started to submit small written pieces to local newspapers and thus his love affair with writing began. Once his apprenticeship was completed he travelled the country working in the printing trade. At the age of 22 for reasons known only to himself, he started working as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he moved west in 1861 and eventually changed his name to Mark Twain. He was fortunate enough to find several opportunities which afforded him travel and the ability to write about his experiences. Thus his writing career took off with tales of travel and adventure.
One would assume growing up and working on the Mississippi and travelling extensively would have led Twain to write this quote, but let me stop you there. This quote has never been verified as having been written by Twain, however, he is regularly credited with writing it.
Who did Explore Dream Discover?
This begs the question who should get all the glory for this quote? It is mentioned in the book “Life’s Little Instruction Book” by H Jackson Brown Jr and the author attributes the quote to his mother. The book was published in 1991 and that is as far back as the trail goes. There seem to be several references to the quote after 1991 (incorrectly attributed to Twain) but no mention of the quote before the 1990s.
Most Quoted and Misquoted
Twain is thought to be the most quoted author and also the most misquoted author of all time. I like to think that he would be chuckling at his writing desk in the sky at all the quotes wrongly ascribed to him.
“A Lie Can Travel Halfway Around the World While the Truth Is Putting On Its Shoes”
And yes, you guessed it, this quote isn’t from Twain either!
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Encyclopedia of World Biography – Mark Twain Biography
Quote Investigator – Twenty Years From Now You Will Be More Disappointed By The Things You Didn’t Do Than By The Ones You Did Do