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Thoughts on the Importance of Travel

Buzz Poole
09/11/2012 - 06:16

Being an American, it's hard to look at today's date, September 11, and not recall the horror and shock of the same day back in 2001. I did not live in New York at the time; I was in California. I awoke that morning to the radio deejay who usually played fun music talking about war and an unknown enemy. For the next few days, the sky above the Bay Area remained eerily free of air traffic and the notion of reality seemed more slippery than usual.

Now, with eleven years passed since that fateful day, the world remains an uncertain place, but uncertainty was a major aspect of life before September 11, 2001. And as much as some factions want to establish "us and them" lines of distinction, such groupings operate under gross generalizations and false premises. Yes, bad people exist and they do bad things, everywhere. But the vast majority of human beings are not bad people and many of them do very good things; some of them do extraordinary things that make all of our lives better.

Traveling makes clear just how incredible the world is, comprised of all sorts of people who have left, and are leaving, their marks. This is what the traveler discovers time and again. Yes, misunderstandings and mishaps are inevitable, but on the whole what awaits you beyond your front door is a reminder of all the good in the world, of just how friendly strangers can be and how those strangers can become friends, and even family. At the end of the day, we're all more alike than we often recognize and this realization is perhaps one of travel's greatest rewards because in discovering this through experience, you are better equipped to create bridges of understanding rather than erecting walls in the name of preserving distance. 

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