“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.”
These are the words of the famous fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen. The lines were written in his Autobiography The Fairy Tale of My Life which was published in 1847. He was born in Denmark in 1805 on April 2nd and during the 70 years he was alive he wrote some very famous fairy tales. Amongst others, he wrote The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and The Princess and the Pea. Hans Christian Andersen travelled more than other people did at the time. He started travelling when he was 25 years old and only stopped travelling when he was 68 years old. He travelled to popular destinations like Spain, France and England, but also places like Sweden, Scotland, Africa and the Balkan countries. The author’s English skills were far from perfect – and actually close to non-existing, but he got by anyway. One of the reasons that Hans Christian Andersen travelled so much can be because he lived in the golden era. In this era, the economy in Denmark had never been worse, but the cultural life was blossoming and it was very normal for artists and scientists to travel outside of Denmark to experience the development in other countries.
The author’s travels had an influence on many of his writings. In 1831 Hans Christian Andersen went on his first travel outside of Denmark. Afterwards he published his first travelogue called Shadow Pictures of a Journey to the Harz, Swiss Saxony, etc. etc. in the Summer of 1831. The travelogue contains a lot of poetry based on what he saw during his travels. The book is called shadow pictures, because it does not tell the truth about what Hans Christian Andersen experienced and saw during the summer in 1831, but merely shadow pictures of what he experienced, since he altered the truth in his writings and the poetry. When you read the book, you can feel his excitement about going someplace new and meeting people who he has never met before, and especially in this quote his thoughts about travelling becomes very clear to the reader: “To travel! Travel! That is but the happiest lot!”
Hans Christian Andersen wrote many different travelogues inspired by his travels, but some of the fairy tales he has written are also inspired by his travels. The Emperor’s New Clothes was written after a trip to Spain and The Shadow is inspired by his travels in the southern Europe. Hans Christian Andersen is one of the most famous fairy tale writers in the world, and maybe it is because of all the travelling he did? Travelling surely must enhance the imagination, so let that be the excuse for everyone to travel more often!