This I Believe

Imran - fredericksburg, Virginia
Entered on February 28, 2007

The Power of Exploration

A little over five hundred years ago an European fellow by the name Christopher Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and found a land that was new and unknown to the eastern world. Almost two hundred years ago two explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, set out from their base camp in St. Louis on an expedition to the West Coast of America. Forty-four years ago an ex-marine corps aviator turned astronaut became the first American to orbit the earth. Today there are ships that cross the Atlantic on a regular basis. What took Lewis and Clark months, can take as little as forty-eight hours, depending on how fast one drives. Today we have space shuttles and an international space station under construction.

Much of our history, following the examples of these explorers, is based on people willing to risk their life and limb in order to answer a question, see what is over the next hill, or do something that has never been done before. Therefore, I find it impossible to accept that there are some things that lie beyond the power of humans to achieve. I believe in the power of exploration.

When I was five years old, my mother used to send me to the market to buy different things. She thought that by going to the market by myself, I would learn to be more independent and self-reliant at an early stage. She knew that by interacting with other people, I would learn, explore and experience new things. As a result, I was able to learn nine different languages. By exploring, people don’t only discover new land or territory; they make new inventions, build their confidence and expand their knowledge and awareness of their surroundings.

Once, when I was riding my bike to the market, I was nearly run over by a truck. The distance between the truck and me was barely a foot and I narrowly escaped the hands of death. At first, I thought that I should not tell my mother about the incident as she would not let me go to the market all-alone any longer. But the guilt of not telling was too much. So when I came back home, I told my mother about the incident and she instantly hugged me. After a near fatal experience with a passing truck, I was afraid that my days of going to the market were over, but instead, the quite opposite happened as my mother asked me if I could go to the market and buy some potatoes. So I jumped-up, put my shoes on, ran to my cycle and cruised towards the market.

This experience exhibited me the importance and power of exploring by myself. It also taught me that exploration comes at a cost and this is no secret, yet explorers take risks to gain knowledge and understanding, knowing that the possible price is death; Death being the highest price anyone will ever have to pay for knowledge, understanding, and exploration.