We are a product of our many experiences. Even our genetic chemistry has much to do with how we see the world. I've driven myself to drink trying to figure out what makes me tick. What I've learned along the way is that — coupled with a quixotic nature — I am a product of what I have read.
Subsequently, I've read every adventure/travel book written from Steinbeck's "Travels With Charley" to Least Heat Moon's "Blue Highway." However, the epitome of all adventure/travel stories has to be the adventures of Odysseus in Homer's "The Odyssey."
Consequently, I hitchhiked the length and breadth of the country, rode freight trains and rafted lazy rivers. Those activities seldom exist anymore. What exists now is a very mechanized, technocratic world in which there are rules and regulations at every stop. The adventure of the open road builds a certain character that you don't get in Little League.