The Investment of Travel

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Several years ago the editor of MORE Magazine wrote, “I assess my savings in multiples of plane tickets.” She had emptied her checking account at the age of 30 to witness the wildebeest migration across the Serengeti before she died. That’s how young she was – she thought she had to act fast.

 

But in this editorial some 20 years later, she still admitted that she always chooses life over money. I feel the same way. I wonder if this is indicative of editors?

 

The rich return of the travel investment is accounted for in terms of life-changing experiences, unforgotten images, unforgettable people, and lessons learned that cannot be replicated in any other way.

 

In my savings account are such things as (most recently) midnight in Times Square, a picnic on the mall in Washington, D.C., a choral performance at the cathedral of St. James in London, images of the holocaust in Germany, a sunrise on Mt. Desert Island, a sunset at the Mucky Duck on Sanibel Island, an evening meal with a beautiful family in Nepal, a cross-country trek in a 1985 Mercedes that runs on vegetable oil, and OH so MANY more.

 

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts, “wrote Mark Twain in Innocents Abroad. “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

 

Recently a young mother asked me how I instilled a love of learning in my three sons. Easy. I put them in a car for 16 hours and we drove to see their grandparents in New York City on an annual basis. In that vehicle with us were books and board games and mind games and math workbooks and mazes and anything mentally stimulating that I could pull from the shelves at the bookstore.

 

Oh, and we also had to CONVERSE. We told jokes, made up our own highway games and played so many rounds of I Spy that there wasn’t a square inch inside that mini-van that we hadn’t at some point identified and described in great detail.

 

But the learning didn’t stop when we arrived at our destination. Frequently on our way to the Big Apple, we explored the eastern seaboard, which included places like Williamsburg, Washington, Charleston, and Philadelphia.

 

To GO is to LEARN.

 

As usual, old Mark was right.

 

When we travel we get new VIEWS of many things . . . including our points of view.

 

 

 

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