[Ads-l] "If you want to travel fast, travel alone; if you want to travel far, travel with others."

Charles C Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Thu Mar 3 15:26:50 UTC 2016

Below are a few bits regarding background and variants of the "African" proverb that we pondered recently


If you want to go (travel) fast (fastest), go alone; if you want to go far (farthest), go with others (company, companions, friends)

1917  Cyrus McCormick, "Men and Team Work," _The Harvester World_ 8, no. 6 (Jun.) 1: "Kipling says, ' . . . he travels fastest who travels alone.' That may do for a race, but . . . ours is a different kind of work, and we might rather say, 'Scaling the mountain or breasting the stream, [/] he travels fastest who pulls with his team.'"  1926  Paul Popenoe, _The Conversation of the Family_ (Baltimore: William & Wilkins) 52: "A proverb has it that 'He travels fastest who travels alone.' But he rarely travels farthest, he rarely gets so much enjoyment from his travels as does one who has company."  1956  Allen Raymond, "May Friends Go with You," _The Rotarian_ 88, no. 3 (Mar.) 36: "I know that Rudyard Kipling penned a good line . . . . 'He travels fastest who travels alone.' I would like to advance a corollary to that proposition. He travels farthest who travels with friends."  1973  John Brooks, _The Expert_ (London: Tom Stacey) 197: "'He travels fastest who travels alone,' as George Washington said. 'But he travels farthest who has a companion."  1980  Paul Fussell, _Abroad: British Literary Traveling between the Wars_ (New York: Oxford UP) 117: "He who travels furthest travels alone, to be sure, but he who travels best travels with a companion, if not always a lover."  1993  Breyten Breytenbach, "Why Are Writers Always the Last to Know?" _New York Times Book Review_ 98 (28 Mar.) 17: "It is important to take responsibility for the story. Imagination is politics. He who travels  alone travels fastest, but in the company of friends, you go farther."  2004  Bill Hull, _Choose Life_ (Grand Rapids MI: Baker) 107: "So my gift of love has been to submit to that process. As the African proverb tells us, 'If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.'"  2005  Ujala Satgoor and Susan Schneur, "International Partnership, National Impact," in _Continuing Professional Development_, edited by Paul Gevoni and Graham Walton (Munich: K. G. Saur) 267: "The following African proverb succinctly captures the essence of a great partnership: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."  2007  Forest Glenn Spencer, "Librarian in Exile," _Information Outlook_ 11, no. 8 (Aug.) 35: "An African proverb says, 'If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with people.' We need to reach out to one another."  2009  David Jensen, "From Conflict to Peacebuilding," _Environmental Change and Security Program Report_ 13: 56: "While the task may seem overwhelming at times, I take inspiration from the Afgan saying, 'If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.'"  2011  _Pasadena [CA] Star-News_, 19 Jun.: "Nothing ever happens when you're standing still. Alone you go faster, but together you go farther."  The saying, which in recent years has often (though perhaps spuriously) identified as an African proverb, might be regarded as an anti-proverb responding, to the older Anglo-American proverb "He who travels fastest travels alone," a variant of "He who travels alone travels fast(est)."

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