Why Travel?

The March 2016 edition of Conde Nast Traveler features a cover article entitled, “Why You Should Travel” and includes a number of gripping short accounts by notable personalities. Author Elizabeth Gilbert related the time when an elderly Muslim woman pulled her out of her depression while she spent a lonely fortnight on a near-deserted Pacific island. Other contributors offered similar transformative stories of how travel changed their lives.

As for me, as a high school student in Minnesota, I was just getting by; not a kid any longer and certainly not an adult. Then, my mother was able to persuade her uncle, Captain Mungus Pettersen, to hire me for the summer as a deckhand on his Norwegian freighter sailing from New York City down to Havana and several countries in Central America. Needless to say, that experience changed my life.

Another transformative experience began when, as a college sophomore, I received a telegram in the middle of the night asking me to join the Peace Corps to help build primary schools throughout Gabon.

But, was there a singular travel event that I could say changed my life more than any other? I don’t think so. To me, travel is a building block. Earlier travel experiences are the foundation for future travel experiences and the stronger the foundation (language and geographical, cultural, artistic, culinary, etc. knowledge), the more enriching and enjoyable the future travel experiences.

Your answer to the question, “Why Travel”, I believe is found within. If you love to socialize, great! Your opportunities are endless on the road. No matter what your interests and skills, travel can open up newly discovered vistas that can enrich and transform. Fear of the unknown is the enemy. Conquer that one and then pack your bags.

By Bob Utne

Katlyn Pierre