My response to the question that I am frequently asked, "Why do you travel so much?"
Well, counting this trip that was slightly under a month, Trini and I have now traveled for almost six months over the past two and a half years. We visited Europe twice ( the Baltic and the Mediterranean), South America, China, and this trip to Hawaii and the South Pacific. Trini also traveled, during that time frame, with a friend of hers to Alaska for a week.
A question that is frequently asked by our friends and acquaintances is, "Why do you travel so much?"
The short version response to the question is because "We love to travel." I always have. We have also tried to pass on that passion of traveling to Adrian and Bianca. I believe we have succeeded.
The long version response is because I believe it's in our very nature to be curious and to want to see what is on the other side of the mountain.
In fact, that's what the goal of a K-12 education is really all about. Why else would the teachers place a globe on their desk and hang up maps on the walls for the students to see each day? Kids are invited to read about adventures that occur in different parts of the world. All subject matters provide background information that took place in other parts of the world.
I attended parochial school. How many times did I hear in class about the Romans, Gauls and Greeks? For years we were exposed to the history of the Mediterranean countries (Egypt, Spain, Russia) and, of course, to regions in Western Asia (Jerusalem, Galilee, or Bethlehem). We read books by European and Asian writers. We heard about the many different animals throughout the world. We studied about the famous men and women in different continents. We heard about maritime tales on the high seas and vast oceans. We learned to sing songs in Latin, French and Spanish. Public schools are also constantly providing information dealing with world history, geography and global affairs.
It's impossible to teach about WW II without constantly referring to world maps.
How can we come to be inundated and constantly encouraged to learn more regarding our world and not ultimately be curious and excited to see it firsthand?
Through education, we become familiar with many faraway places, but unfortunately it's presented only in two dimensions. We have a wide range of article, books and movies to show to help understand the world. However, we must leave the comfort of our sofas and venture out and experience place near and far for ourselves. We must enter into new environments where all of our five senses are working together to make sense of the new surroundings. This type of activity invigorates us both physically and mentally.
Our imagination does help us, up to a point, to envision it in our minds as if we are seeing a movie, yet it is only based on our limited vision, unexamined opinions and social biases.
It's essential to our personal well-being to acknowledge and continuously feed our curiosity. We need to embrace and fulfill our innate desire to venture out into the world in order to distinguish between fact and fiction.
Traveling has made me realize how little I know and it motivates me to want to learn more. It has provided me with the opportunity to hear many diverse points of view from persons seeing it from their own particular place on the planet.
[b]Through my journeys, I have come to realize that some issues in those parts are worse than I previously thought and that others are not so bad after all.
I have observed things that would make anyone cry while also experiencing other situations where I couldn't stop laughing.[/b]
I now have many unique stories to share about my quests, but I will never grow tired of listening to those that have traveled much more than me and have even better and greater stories to share.
Over the years of traveling, I have met persons that have traveled around the world many times over. I have shared meals with persons that normally visit several countries on multiple continents all in one week. They typically have a very keen sense of what is occurring around the world. They are what I refer to as "the genuine citizens of the world." Several of these persons have accepted to be my mentors.
We cannot, and must not, close our eyes to the terrible and beautiful things that are occurring throughout the world. We must learn from what we see and seek to know more. Traveling provided depth to our understanding of the dynamics of our mortal existence.
Keep in mind that traveling does necessarily mean visiting far away places. It means looking on the other side of the river or mountain. It refers to visiting what is not known. Traveling, for me, means simply going out the door of home and going somewhere new. We benefit tremendously from continually visiting new sites that provide us with new experiences and thus expanding our horizons. We must continuously challenge ourselves to get out of our comfort zone.
Ultimately, we learn more about our fellow human beings in order to understand how each of us can work together to make this a better world for all.
Let's teach and motivate all our children to be explorers and to broaden their life experiences.