This is me giving an impromptu speech at an American Society of Travel Agents event last week in Nairobi.

I’m not exactly a great orator. Truth be told, I prefer to be the guy holding the microphone and letting my sources talk. But all in all, it went pretty well, considering the eight hours of jetlag and sweltering temperatures.

Those of you who know me probably are thinking to yourself: “Travel agents? But I thought they didn’t like you.”

You’re right. They didn’t. But time changes everything.

Travel agents, as I explained in the few moments on stage, used to be in the transaction business. They booked tickets, they took a commission. But a strange thing happened during the internet revolution: They turned into professional travel advisers — and, in many ways, into consumer advocates.

It’s been a remarkable transformation. In meeting with agents, it became clear to me that this metamorphosis was for the better, both for them and for their customers. Also, we now have a common cause, the agents and I. We are here to help consumers.

This idea — that time changes everything — resonates in other places. I’ve forgotten how many publications blacklisted me, then whitelisted me, and then asked me to write a regular column. It’s a who’s-who of the journalism world. I have friends who became former friends and are now friends again. You probably know what I’m talking about.

Time is like a salve that heals relationships and lessens the distance between people.

When I got up to speak in Kenya, someone shouted, “You’re not the enemy!”

Ah, that.

Those wounds will heal, too. One day, maybe soon, we’ll understand that we’re all on the same side, and we’ll see who the real enemy is.

Give it time.

Here are this week’s stories:

By the way, thanks so much for the encouraging emails after I announced our six-month trip. We can’t wait to get started and to see you along the way. Right now, two of my kids are done with their semester and one of them is at about 50 percent. We need to wrap things up before we cast off.

See you next week!

Click Me





I'll send you insider tips, my latest stories, and deep thoughts from the world of consumer advocacy. What are you waiting for?