The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. – St. Augustine

wpid-WendyTomWedding031Web-2014-02-15-14-05.jpg

Picture of one of the lovely decorations my wife did for our wedding.

It never ceases to amaze me that most Americans don’t own a passport, and few travel. (The link includes some excellent reasoning on why that happens.) Since I’ve now lived outside the US as well as travelled extensively (and likely will continue to do so) I’m very grateful for the opportunities to have experienced different things. Here’s a brief list of things I never would have experienced had I not travelled:

US

  • I’ve visited 37 of the 50 States (still have Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Minnesota, Iowa, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Arizona to go)
  • I’ve lived in New York, Rhode Island, California, and Virginia
  • I’ve been to all the major cities in the US except Phoenix (and 30 of the top 55)
  • I’ve visited the Very Large Array in New Mexico
  • I’ve visited the home of George Washington at Mt. Vernon
  • I’ve seen one of the original copies of the US Constitution and an original copy of the Magna Carta
  • I’ve seen Frank Lloyd’ Wright’s “Fallingwater” inside and out
  • I’ve been to the Kennedy Space Center and seen a real Saturn V
  • I’ve been to the Sea, Air, and Space Museum
  • I’ve seen tigers up close and personal in a conservatory whose website I hosted charitably in Tyler, Texas
  • I’ve been to the baseball and football Halls of Fame
  • I’ve been to the top of the St. Louis Arch
  • I’ve climbed the base of the Statue of the Liberty and been to the top of the Empire State Building (to be fair I lived in New York)
  • I had been in the World Trade Center prior to its destruction, but thankfully not too close (on 35th & 7th) on 9/11
  • I’ve been on winery tours in Napa Valley
  • I’ve done a 1600 mile road trip from Virginia to Kansas to Louisiana to Florida and back to Virginia
  • I’ve driven across the entire continental United States, from Yonkers, New York to Yankee Hill, California (with a week’s stay in McPherson, KS in the middle)

Planetary

  • I’ve seen flying fish off the coast of Curaçao, and visited the colourful waterfront buildings of Willemstad, as well as driven buggies all over the island
  • I’ve swum with fish in the world’s largest natural aquarium at Xel-Ha in Mexico
  • I’ve gambled at a casino in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic
  • I’ve stood in front of (and in one case behind) five waterfalls, and been to the place where North America, Asia, and Europe intersect
  • I’ve driven a snow-mobile on a glacier and had a snowball fight close to the top of the world
  • I’ve stood on a black sand beach and seen what locals call “frozen trolls”
  • I’ve visited a city that was founded by Caesar and boated on a glacial lake and eaten ices on the shores of Bellagio
  • I’ve visited museums in Switzerland to see exclusive exhibits by Baselitz
  • I’ve taken the bullet train in Japan from Toyko to Kyoto, visiting the old imperial palace at Kyoto, and seen Mt. Fuji from the train
  • I’ve eaten Kobe beef in Japan and visited the electronics district of Akihabara when it’s lit up at night
  • I’ve celebrated Chinese New Year in Malaysia and received Ang Pao, viewing fireworks that lit up the night sky
  • I’ve been to three of the top ten tallest buildings in the world in Malaysia (Petronas Towers) and Hong Kong (International Commerce Centre)
  • I’ve been to the top of Victoria peak in Hong Kong & taken pictures of the skyscrapers from above
  • I’ve been to the tallest building in North America (the CN Tower in Toronto)
  • I’ve taken the Eurostar to Belgium and explored parts of the city on foot
  • I’ve been to the Euromast in Rotterdam, boated on the canals in Amsterdam, and seen the model attractions in Madurodam
  • I’ve boated on the Thames and been to the London Eye, and many attractions in London (to be fair, I live here now)
  • I’ve visited Exmouth and York in Britain, and had a family reunion in a hotel that’s existed for 250 years
  • I’ve stayed at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and swum in a rooftop infinity pool overlooking the entire city
  • I’ve been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in France, and ridden a segway on the city streets
  • I’ve been to Tivoli Gardens in Denmark, and explored Copenhagen on foot
  • I’ve walked La Rambla in Barcelona, and eaten fantastically delectable ham in Madrid
  • I’ve felt the oppressive heat in Saudi Arabia and seen black camels attempt to find shade
  • I’ve stood on a man-made island in Dubai and driven past the Burj Khalifa (which I hope to visit with the wife)
  • I’ve been RIB-boating in a fjord in Norway, and explored Oslo and Stockholm by foot
  • I proposed to my wife in Bath, UK at a place built by actual Romans as an outpost in Brittania

Is it bragging to say all these things? Of course! I’m aware of how lucky I am, and am extremely grateful. (I also don’t let my acrophobia stop me from doing things involving heights!) Most of these things I was able to do as excursions due to work travels, and when I travel for work I try and take time for myself. (It helps to be able to work from anywhere there’s an internet connection – expounding on the ideas in Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week I’ve been able to do more travel while still working in certain cases!) I am very lucky to have been able to do everything I’ve done, but a lot of it was also the reward for hard work. I’m even more fortunate to have found an amazing woman who also loves to travel, and some of the things mentioned above I did with her as well. I hope someday to share the same or similar experiences with my children. I think it’s incredibly enriching to be able to travel (and my goal is to start getting south of the equator!), makes people more aware of the world around them and less likely to be narrow-minded, and gives them a true appreciation for their place on the planet as well as in the universe overall.

Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: