This I Believe

Alex - santa monica, California
Entered on June 22, 2007

This I Believe

I believe in travel. More is learned from one trip to a new place than could ever be garnered from a textbook. Travel fosters new ideas and renews old ones, and it reminds us that we are only a part of a greater world.

When I was 13 I was a huge history buff. I watched war movies like most kids watch saturday morning cartoons. When my mother decided to take me on a trip to Europe I could only think about one thing, and that was Normandy. Every kid my age who had played video games and watched “saving private ryan” knew exactly where it was, and I was no exception.

When we arrived I was, of course, blown away by what I saw: Beaches scarred by sharp, rusted obstacles, concrete bunkers sprouting mangled iron rebar like tree roots, green meadows as cratered as the moon. As I imagined what it would have been like to have been there 60 years earlier, I began to realize the beauty of my surroundings: Pastures and farms, country roads, white-sand beaches, sea breeze… the town of Bayeux where we stayed had a thousand year old church and the most delicious apricot pastry I had ever tasted. People spoke French! I was excited at how new it was – I felt exilerated just being alive.

Travel is a unique sort of education. The more we read or study, the more we know. The more we travel, the less we know. We become more aware of how much there is to experience.

It is not a small world after all, and thank god for that. These days it is so very easy to convince each other that there is no more to learn about our world. Traveling gives us something more to explore when we are so sure that there is nothing left.