It only takes an 8,000-mile flight and a six-hour ride down a dirt road, but you can get away from everything. And sometimes, it’s worth it.
I was invited to speak at a travel conference in Kenya last week, and I’m glad I accepted. I’ve grown weary of hearing about how I’m “the enemy” (I’m not) or even trying to make sense of the new American presidential administration (I can’t). A little distance helps.
So here I am, in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, close to the Tanzanian border. That’s a photo of my son, Aren, trying to photograph a herd of zebra. This is really the middle of nowhere. And my, how your perspective changes.
In the last few days I’ve seen opulence and extreme poverty, often right next to one another. I’ve had my heartstrings pulled by baby elephants and endangered giraffe. I’ve met travel agents and professional travel planners who are kindred spirits and fellow advocates in the cause.
I’ve been reminded that we live in a big world filled with beauty and adventure, but also of uncertainty and inequality. Travel helps us understand it a little better. I know, because I brought my kids with me and showed them Kenya, and I think they see that America is just a small part of an incredible planet.
But there’s also a more subversive conclusion that I’ve drawn, and maybe it applies to you if you’re a fellow traveler.
Travel is the ultimate act of resistance. When you cross a border, you quickly discover that the easy categories we use to describe ourselves with — binary classifications like black and white, Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative — become less meaningful.
Travel has the power to free us from the insular views that others around us mistakenly embrace. They break down walls of ignorance and distrust. Maybe Dr. Seuss had it right when he wrote about the Sneetches. Do you have a star on your belly? Does it even matter?
If you are not a fellow traveler, please get a passport and join me. The world is an enlightening place and it will change your perspective. I promise.
Here are this week’s stories:
- How early should you arrive for your flight? (USA Today)
- Whose armrest is it, anyway? The unspoken etiquette of airline, bus and train travel. (The Washington Post)
- In A World Without Secrets, Here’s How To Almost Disappear Online (Huffington Post)
- Reader’s dream trip ended early when London flight was canceled (Travel Troubleshooter)
See you back in the States next week.