Traveling Abroad: A Real-World Education
It’s been a number of years since I traveled abroad very extensively. Raising kids has a way of reigning in youthful wanderlust and then when you do take trips, seeing the world more often means Disney’s version, not visiting a foreign country. That’s OK, I have fond memories of our family travels. But I am also incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to travel overseas when I was younger. Those experiences had a profound impact on my life and significantly influenced many of the perspectives I carry with me to this day.
My initial exposure to a world outside my own was when I went to Europe for several months a few years after I graduated from college. Like a number of other people my age were doing at the time, I donned a backpack, grabbed a copy of Arthur Frommer’s Europe on $10 a Day, and set out for a little adventure. During my travels, I was able to meet my French relatives and, through welcome twists of fate, also got to stay with an Italian family in Rome for several days, and spend a fascinating evening with a group of Czech medical students. I also met fellow travelers from other parts of the U.S. and Canada and from as far away as Australia and New Zealand. Not only did I have a great time, I also quickly learned that not everyone saw the world through the same lens that I did. That “reality check” significantly changed my world view and opened new paths of thinking and understanding.
I was reminded of my youthful travels when editing our Q&A feature on page 18 in which we profile a young couple from Willowbrook who, after saving money for several years, quit their jobs and took off on a round-the-world trip. It’s now three years later and they are still happily wandering the globe. Their story is a fascinating one and, as you will see, their travels have obviously had a significant effect on their priorities and perspectives as well.
Another article in this issue that struck a particularly resonant chord with me is Michele Weldon’s Last Word column on page 80, “When Names Escape Us.” In her own inimitable way, Michele laments her inability to remember people’s names, even those of longtime friends and neighbors. I can definitely relate. While I have never been especially good at remembering names, my recall has definitely deteriorated in the last few years. Oddly enough, my overall memory is still very good — I remember plenty of details about people, just not their names. It can be very frustrating.
I remember when I was a summer camp counselor, we had hundreds of kids and it was impossible to remember all their names. So we just called all the boys “Hoss” or “Tiger.” It worked surprisingly well in that environment, but I’m thinking it may not translate well to my current situation. As always, we hope you enjoy this issue and thanks for being a reader!Edit Module