There is a saying, attributed to St. Augustine, that “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
I don’t know if St. Augustine is really the author of that quote but I know that every page I get the chance to read is a joy. Every opportunity that I am given to explore the world enriches me, broadens my perspective. And each new culture and new experience on the road helps to make me at bit more tolerant, a bit more aware, and a bit more of an advocate for a planet that needs all of us to care.
I recognize, of course, that I’m incredibly fortunate. From the first time I traveled abroad — Eurail Pass and backpack in hand — to the unexpected opportunity to serve my country in the Foreign Service, the world opened before me dramatically. And today I am on the way home from another incredible journey which took me to Hawaii, to Kiribati, to American Samoa, to Fiji and to New Zealand.
Yes. I’m fortunate. I know that. There are so many people who have not had the chance to travel and never will. Some want to see the world but lack resources, time, opportunity, or perhaps, the courage to do so.
Still others have no desire to travel. They think it is a waste of time and money. They are happy to read their single page again and again. I try to respect their choice but, if I’m honest, I feel sorry for them. And then there are those who travel but do so with blinders on and closed minds. That, to me, is perhaps the saddest thing of all.
I don’t know how many more pages I’ll be fortunate enough to read in the years that lie ahead, time will tell. But my appetite to learn remains undiminished and when opportunity knocks I’ll continue to answer.
The world is waiting.