There is a proverbial hemistich in my language about a person who is not well-experienced yet. It says:

  • An unexperienced person should travel a lot in order to be wiser / experienced. [literal translation]

In the poetical sentence above, the word "travel" alludes to "achieving enough experience", in the manner that if one wants to become wise enough they must achieve enough experience and as the saying goes experience ups and downs of life so that they could consider themselves as a wise and aware person.

I have found the following English equivalents, but I'm positive that they are some direct translations from other languages into English:

  • Much travel is needed to rippen a man's rawness. {travel: obtaining experience}
  • Travel broadens the mind. {travel: obtaining experience}

I need to discover the phrase, expression, idiom or proverb which is commonly said by native speakers in this sense.

3 Answers 3


"Travel broadens the mind" is a very common idiom/cliche in English.

I have never heard "Much travel is needed to ripen a man's rawness" and it does not sound like natural English.

  • Thank you @James Random, but does it work figuratively in the experience meaning too?
    – A-friend
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 16:18
  • 1
    @A-friend No -- this expression usually refers to actual travel, not metaphorical travel.
    – Andrew
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 16:59
  • Thank you very much @Andrew. So there should not be anything that could be said metaphorically in this sense; right?
    – A-friend
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 19:34
  • 2
    @A-friend There are any number of things that could be said, but you'd have to make them up, e.g. "You can't broaden your mind without first stretching your boundaries."
    – Andrew
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 19:38
  • 1
    @A-friend By the way, I did just make that up. You should try making up one of your own!
    – Andrew
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 19:49

I can't think of any actual proverbs that say this, other than the common idiomatic expression "older and wiser". However there are many dozens of quotes, from various sources, that cover the same ground, such as

One should be wiser than he was yesterday.

(probably incorrectly) attributed to Abraham Lincoln, or

One must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day has been.

attributed to Sophocles

Personally, I'm more inclined to remember the cynical quotes:

Once you've accumulated sufficient knowledge to get by, you're too old to remember it

Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. - Hector Berlioz

Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think. - Ambrose Bierce

and a new favorite:

No one gets too wise to learn a new way of being stupid.


In "Blowin' in the Wind", Bob Dylan asked,

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?

  • Thank you @Jasper. Just telling "blown in the wind" could be so indicative that the listener immediately would grasp the meaning in your mind?
    – A-friend
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 5:36
  • Can I count it as a common English saying @Jasper ?
    – A-friend
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 5:44
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    @A-friend -- I don't think saying "blowin' in the wind" makes the point the original post asks for. Dylan's refrain that "The answer is blowin' in the wind" is answering several other questions in the song. These questions were quite controversial at the time.
    – Jasper
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 15:57
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    @A-friend -- I think that the first couplet of the song is very recognizable to native speakers of American English. (How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?) Like good poetry, it is easy to understand literally, but has extra meaning for people who choose to think about it.
    – Jasper
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 16:00
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    @A-friend - No. The first couplet (which is just the 14 words quoted in this answer) is the saying that makes your point. The other questions in the song do not help make your point -- they are about what Dylan considered to be needless deaths, not achieving strength and wisdom. In normal conversation, you do not need to mention the source of the quote. It is nice to know the source of the quote, and it is good to cite the source in formal essays and speeches.
    – Jasper
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 16:55

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