Category Archives: Thoughts on Travel

Nomading, it’s a thing…

Humans have been on the move since the beginning of time – seeking prosperity, more abundant pastures, an easier life, or just new adventures.  As exploring the world has become possible for more of us, various styles of travel have emerged, making labels like “tourist”, “traveler”, “holiday”, and “vacation” too limiting.

During, and after, our recent seven-month trip, I found myself struggling to explain that we were not really “on vacation”, or even “traveling”, as the term is understood by most, so, I decided a new word was needed to better describe those of us living on the road, homeless by choice.

Being tourists in Ronda, Spain

“Vacation” or “Holiday” a rejuvenating break from the pressures of a hectic life and/or work schedule.

“Tourists” prefer a structured itinerary, seeking to maximize the “must sees”, and through careful planning, waste no time, and leave no room for mishaps. They can be part of a group, or individual tour, but want things to be easy. (There is nothing derogatory about being a tourist!)

“Travelers” have a more relaxed itinerary, often winging it and moving slowly. They accept that wrong turns, missing a train, or getting lost, often result in the most memorable experiences. They enjoy a degree of challenge and the unknown in their journeys.

“Nomads” have no home to go back to. Some have never owned one, but many have just opted to sell, or rent it out for months, or years, to help fund their new lifestyle. Some nomads stay in one place for a few weeks or months, others just wander, with no set plans. Nomads can at times be tourists, and travelers, as part of their nomadic lifestyle, but they are primarily just living day-to-day, on the road, integrating with the local culture, often skipping the bucket list sights of tourists and travelers.

The term “digital nomads”, is used for those of all ages working remotely, and in Australia, they use “grey nomads”, to describe wandering retirees. I guess we fit into both of these categories, but I don’t really care for the grey nomad term, since retirees can be 45 or 85, grey or not! And for all of my single girl friends, we met so many female nomads, of all ages! Maybe I just noticed them more, but it seemed to me that 80% of the single nomads we met were women, some young, but many of them over 60. 

So, I hope this inspires you to think out of the box about what kind of holiday, trip, or life you want to have. As I like to remind myself – there are so many ways to define success, happiness and to live this life!

In my next posts,  I will get into more specifics about our Nomading.

Travel Tug of War

DSC_0034It has taken me many miles and months of travel to recognize the tug-of-war that begins on day one, and lasts well into my second or third week of a trip. I could label it jet lag, but it’s more complex than that. It’s that slow process of letting go and embracing what is new, and now. And that doesn’t come easy for most of us, hence, what I call the internal “travel tug-of-war” – one foot in one world and one in the other – straddling the abyss between comfort zone and the unknown.

I think most people are only vaguely aware of this battle going on inside them because they travel at the same frenetic pace they live by at home, so not much changes, you just see a lot of new stuff – you acquire knowledge about another culture, but you don’t have time to experience it, or share with the locals on a deeper level. That takes time.
On the plane, I immediately jump into the transition – no Western food for me! I order the Bento Box breakfast. The flight attendant passes me three times carrying my meal, looking quizzically at her colleague, I am sure thinking – that blonde woman in 7A can’t be having the Japanese b’fast? I try to convince David to choose the Bento, but he stubbornly opts for the “egg benedict”, which turns out to be a mistake – a cold egg with artery-clogging tasteless sauce. (I mean, come on, it’s difficult enough to make a decent poached egg and hollandaise sauce in a proper kitchen!) The bento box was amazing. If you fly Japan Airlines, for sure order the Japanese b’fast!

IMG_0006Whether you ease in, or dive in, on your next trip, pay attention to your internal tug-of-war and the feelings that arise as you slowly let go of your comfort zone, give up control, and let the new culture flow through you.




Seeing the world, with new eyes…

The only true voyage, the only bath in the Fountain of Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to see the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to see the hundred universes that each of them sees.  Marcel Proust

Gaucho with smiling eyes!

Gaucho with smiling eyes!

Travel helps me to see the world, and my home, with new eyes.

My minimum travel  time is three weeks, and a couple of times, we were able to do a six-week trip, but this time,  after exploring Chile, Argentina & Uruguay for three months, I am really noticing my “other eyes”.


Guanaco enjoying their view

The longer you are away, the more acute your awareness becomes when you are once again surround by the familiar.  “Home” is so much more interesting – suddenly I’m living life in a hyper-aware state – I find myself noticing all kinds of little things about people, places and our customs.  I’m going to try my best to maintain this travel hangover for as long as possible.


Alpaca shearing with the Galileos at Estancia del Zorro

A frequent comment we get is: “Wow, three months, was that too long?”  No, not at all for us. I think it’s like anything in life – it’s what you are used to.  We love to travel slowly – parking ourselves at a homey B&B, connecting with locals, getting to really know a place – this enables us to feel more “at home” wherever we are.  We hang out until we are sure we’re ready to leave, even if that means skipping something we had planned for the end of the trip.  For us to be ‘tour-ists” – to have a set schedule, get a taste of places, and then hurry on – would be very frustrating, and exhausting.


So many people welcomed us into their homes, and families

If you want to try a longer trip, but are hesitant, don’t worry, just do it! Expect to get antsy, or home sick at around two weeks, if that’s what you are used to. Just ride out those emotions, they will pass. For the first couple of weeks, I struggle to let go of that “have to be doing something productive” drive that always seems to stowaway in my backpack. You will be amazed how hard that is to shake, it is so engrained in us, and when it does start slipping away, you get the inner voice saying “geeze, you’re getting so lazy”.  When you can reply “good, that’s what I am here for – to become a human being, not a human doing!”, congratulations, you’ve had a breakthrough.P1030849

This will be followed by the big payoff.  You will settle into a new rhythm, you will begin to understand what “slowing down” really feels like, you’ll take the ups and downs of travel with a shrug, knowing that you need the lows, in order to fully appreciate the highs.  When you begin to see mishaps and disappointments as benefits, you are really on your way! As the Buddhists believe, your life’s challenges provide opportunities for growth, and I believe, the same applies to travel. (Not to mention, we have had some of our best experiences, as a result of a things going “wrong”.)

Family weekend at the estancia.

“No plans? Great! Join our family reunion!”

Another benefit of extended, independent travel is the mental stimulation – I’m convinced it’s an alzheimers-buster. Every part of your brain gets a workout, every day, all day – calculating prices, deciphering menus, communicating, figuring out driving, bus schedules, maps, IVA taxes (and how to avoid them!*), and the constant barrage of sights, sounds and tastes foreign to you – what could be better therapy to keep those neurons firing on all cylinders?

Travel slow  and see the world, and your home, with new eyes.DSC_0085


*I should write a post on the in “IVA” taxes in Chile, Argentina & Uruguay (19-22%) but seeing as we never actually gained any real  clarity on the rules, (and we certainly tried), I will have to just let you enjoy the mental exercise, or the challenge of letting go and just paying whatever is charged. Note: the rules differ in each country, and even the locals are confused. And, the way the taxes are charged (or not charged) varies from city to city, province to province. The good news: the system for getting money back at the airport is pretty well organized, but you only get money back on locally made products, not hotel rooms or dinners.





Which one are you?

Are you a human being, or a human doing?

Just hangin'. Muang Ngoi district, Laos

Just hangin’. Muang Ngoi district, Laos

Is your life an endless series of planning and to-do lists?

What percentage of your time is spent just BEING?

Based on the number of talk shows and self-help books on the subject, it appears that we are taking that first step toward breaking the addiction – admitting we have a problem.  Only eleven more steps to go! If you are in the Passport to Adventure recovery program, the next step is – GO TO LAOS! (Recommended dosage is 3 weeks. WARNING: Staying longer may lead to an uncomfortable sense of well being, and diminished desire compete in the rat race)


Minding little sister and the herd. Laos

If Bhutan can market their “Gross National Happiness”, then Laos needs to brand its laid-backness. It’s too bad that so many visitors rush through the country – most spend a few days in the UNESCO world heritage city of Luang Prabang, then fly to neighboring Vietnam, Thailand or Cambodia. They are missing a real opportunity to understand that there IS a different way to live this life. If there was ever a place to “chillax”, Laos is it.


Proud Grandpa, Luang Prabang, Laos.

This was our third trip to Laos – we were there 12 years ago, and 5 years ago. On each trip we spent 3 weeks, and covered different areas of the country, always returning to Luang Prabang. So, “how has it changed?”, you ask. Well, there are more tourists, more hotels and guesthouses, cars and motorcycles have replaced some of the bicycles, everyone has a cell phone, but aside from that, I did not detect any major changes the Lao people and their attitudes.

If you are planning to visit Southeast Asia, do not make the mistake of assuming the cultures are the same, or even similar. They are not. The main thing that makes the Lao people different is their complete lack of materialism. I think we are so consumed by consumerism, and our capitalist nirvana notions, that it’s really, really tough for most Westerners to fathom this non-attachment to earning money. Working hard, and getting bigger, better stuff is admired in our culture, but I saw no indication that the Lao have embraced this philosophy. We had more than one smile and tell us frankly, and even proudly, “we are lazy”.

It doesn’t look like laziness to me, it appears they just would rather enjoy life with little, than work hard for more. Their lifestyle seems to make a clear statement: we value time over money, and laughter over perfection. Lao culture is strongly influenced by Buddhist teachings, with acceptance of circumstances, detachment from outcomes, and the belief that ‘all is as it should be’ shaping attitudes. Western directness, planning, and problem-solving are truly foreign concepts.

After a couple weeks of travel in Cambodia, (which comes right after Laos on the “chillax” list) I was slowing down – lingering at cafés, not planning our next move, wandering aimlessly, taking naps, reading novels (instead of guidebooks) in the middle of the day – all stuff that should be part of every day, right!?

Well in Laos, they are. Neighbors hang out on the front step chatting, shop keepers don’t hassle you, children don’t have tantrums, people giggle a lot, they don’t hurry, they nap in hammocks or on the office floor, they celebrate often, they play music loudly, and they prepare food anywhere and everywhere all the time.


Making yummy coconut crisps on the street.

Your meals will rarely be delivered quickly – the prospect of getting a tip does not seem to motivate servers. In my opinion, they like tips as much as anyone would, but they see it as more of a gift, as in, those that have should share with those that have less, a common tribal ethic. They do not get the idea of trying to earn a tip – if they give good service, and you are financially able to tip, great, but they will never be solicitous, rushed or stressed out about it, nor angry if you do not leave one. They enjoy the opportunity to chat with you more than they covet thy money.

After two weeks in Cambodia and three in Laos, I had completely shed any urgent need to do anything. I found that the “eh, whatever, whenever” shoulder-shrug was becoming quite natural for me. Now that I have experienced true laid-backness, I’m really going to work hard on keeping it. (pun intended) And whenever I feel stress creeping in, I’ll just shrug my shoulders, remember the wonderful people of Laos, and recite my new mantra “baw pen nyang” – no problem!

Watch this fascinating TED talk: “What Makes Us Happy?”!


Travel in the year 1982 B.C.

Before Computers (& Cell Phones)

Cycling Europe, 1982

Cycling Europe, 1982

In ancient times, (the 1980’s) travel meant being disconnected from everything you knew. You had no choice but to “Be Here Now”. Keeping track of your kids meant parents had to settle for the occasional postcard from their 20-something backpackers, or in our case, cyclists. When the only way for travelers to get word from home, was to retrieve snail mail at American Express offices, or make a very expensive phone call.

I have a vivid memory of waiting in the Paris post office for my name to be called. That’s how Eurailers phoned home in 1982. You went to the post office, wrote your name, and the number you wanted to call, on a scrap of paper, waited in line, handed it over to an operator, then sat and waited some more, wondering if your mom, dad, or boyfriend would be home to accept the collect call charges. If your timing was good, you’d hear announced: “Julie Conover, cabine trios”. In the small phone booth, a wooden cabin, you’d pick up the receiver and hopefully hear the correct voice. Then, anxious over the per-minute charges ticking away, you’d hurriedly give an account of your recent adventures, ask for money to be wired from your savings account to the Western Union office, or find out that your boyfriend wasn’t necessarily waiting for you anymore. (Oh well, c’est la vie, he was a world away, and you had more exciting experiences ahead)

Sangria-soaked in Pamplona Spain, Running of the Bulls

Sangria-soaked in Pamplona Spain, Running of the Bulls

Getting mail was a real crap shoot, but amazingly worked pretty well. You had to tell your friends and family approximately when you would be in a certain city, then they had to mail their letter in plenty of time, and hope that it would end up in the right pile, at the right AmEx office, where you’d show up to cash a travelers check. It was always so exciting when you gave them your name and there was actually something for you. I can still picture the scruffy-looking, weary travelers sitting on the AmEx steps, the curb, a park bench; smiling or crying, over a letter from home.

GPS? Ah, negative. We rode bicycles for 6 months using a AAA road map showing the whole of Europe, and a dissected “Lets Go” guide – we would tear out the parts we had no use for, carrying only the currently relevant sections. When we needed directions, we asked locals. Getting lost was part of the fun. Ya think? Actually, no, getting lost on bikes is typically not fun.

Powerless = Powerfull! Munag Ngoi, Laos

Powerless = Powerfull! Muang Ngoi, Laos

Fast forward 30 years… I miss that kind of travel. Being so disconnected from home, friends, family, our native tongue, we were much more connected to our surroundings. I guess that is why I gravitate towards off-the-beaten-path places, I am subconsciously trying to create that feeling again. I actually hate having a TV a hotel room, and see clearly how the ubiquitous wifi of Southeast Asia, is more of a curse than a blessing. My favorite place in Laos this trip was a small village, only accessible by boat, with no electricity. I hung out for hours at candle lit restaurants chatting with travelers, star gazed, walked to neighboring villages, read, and, downloaded pictures to my laptop.

Yes, even savvy travelers blow it…

Love, love, love the holiday spirit in Southeast Asia!

In my experience, this is when most travel screw-ups happen – when you are disembarking in a jet lag stupor and excited to have arrived.

In the rush to “stow personal articles for landing” in HKK, I shoved our “pill bag” into the shoe cabinet and forgot it there! (beware of the handy little nooks for storage in biz class) Yes, it had ALL of our vitamins, prescription meds, and first aid supplies that I have carefully assembled over my years of travel. I realized it pretty quickly and ran back to the gate, but it was already gone.  That the Cathy Pacific staff did not share my shock that it had disappeared, is what annoyed me the most. And it’s worthless to whomever end up with it, as all the pills are in tiny plastic bags, most unlabeled. Only I know what they are.

Hard to stay upset for long once we arrived at our favorite little bungalow resort!

As with all travel mishaps, good people appear when you need them. I mention my problem to the guy that picked us up at the airport here on Phu Quoc, he says his wife is a doctor, and he will see what he can do. The next day, someone appears at my beach chair, with my prescription medication in hand!! And when I try to pay, he hands me his cell phone, I thank Nghe (sp?) and he says it is a “gift”! He also says if it is the correct medication, (it is) he will get me 20 more, so I will have enough to finish our trip, and again, he won’t let me pay.

The bungalows are basic, but the beach is stellar!

Another example of why we travel – it forces you to be vulnerable, and to accept the kindness of strangers. And now, we have a new adventure – visiting local pharmacies, trying to decipher which pills are what, to restock a new “pill bag”. I’ve already found the Vietnamese version of Claratin, one down!





I am, but we’ll get to that later


No travel story worth reading is going to be about an airline losing your luggage.   Try to interest listeners with a lost luggage story and be prepared  for everyone else’s lost luggage stories,  so let’s introduce this episode as the one in which we spend our first three hours in Paris shopping for French Lingerie.   I am herein capitalizing French Lingerie because it deserves to be.

It was United Airlines that lost our luggage but it was Lufthansa that made the offer to reimburse us for a day’s worth of clothes.   I am not sure why Lufthansa stepped in to cover United’s screw-up but it seems  the Germans do a lot of that these days.

Lufthansa having rescued us from UAL took us,  but not our luggage now on a vacation of its very own,  from Frankfurt to Paris.  Upon arrival we checked in with Lufthansa’s lost luggage agent, a  cheerful and pretty German girl who offered to buy us a few days worth of clothes; specifically;

“Ya.  Vee vill reimburse 50% for da outervear duht you buy   …  und  100%  for duh undervear”.  The girls and I exchange something-for-nothing raised-eyebrow smirks.  Personally,  I was okay with the prospect of wearing the same underwear for three weeks.  Why not, I do at home.  But the girls, my wife Jacki and my sister Carolyn,  not so much.   We check empty-handed into our apartment in the Marais district of Paris and  straightaway we are off  to a department store on the Rue de Rivoli.  It’s after dark by now and the sidewalks are crawling with supermodels with shopping bags.  Actual supermodels.    If one is going to step out onto a Parisian sidewalk for the very first time you might want to time your visit with something called Fashion Week,   a city-wide event that makes it difficult to walk in a straight line with all the head-turning.

I digress.  Back to the mission.  I am following the girls who have been given a free pass to shop for replacement underwear in Paris France.  Tres bien.   We find an unimposing department store that could have been a Mervyns, until you get to the second floor:  women’s underwear.   Now I admit I used to occasionally stroll through the girl’s underwear dept in Mervyns  on the way to … you know … Pep Boys.  But this was Paris and in Paris underwear is Lingerie !   The  second floor girl’s underwear department in this non-descript French grand magasin was a dazzling acre of lace and silk and strappy stuff decorating mannequins that you want to date.   In Mervyn’s would you see a lifelike plastic madamoiselle wearing, for example, a lace garter supporting one red stocking, one black, and a red feathered mask ?  Probablement pas !

The girls were studiously hunched over a bin of panties holding them up to the light for some reason.  I know why guys hold underwear up to the light.  I don’t what girls look for and I would have asked them but I was distracted weaving my way through silk and lace tableaux on weak knees like Scarecrow in the Emerald City.

My wife eventually bought $100 dollars worth of bras and panties which by the way I could have folded into my breast pocket and walked out with undetected.   In the meantime the store began to flicker its lights indicating we would have no time to get to the men’s underwear department for the free thong I was conjuring up for myself.  But that was ok, I was happy where I was and the girls were gracious about subjecting me to all this shopping.

“Thanks for being so patient Michael”

“Yeah sure. No problem.  Can we come back tomorrow ?”

Voulez vous avec moi c'est soir ?

Voulez vous avec moi c’est soir



Cambodia for Christmas?

Christmas dinner at a rooftop restaurant in Pakse, Laos.

This will probably sound strange, or even blasphemous, to some, but the merry Christmas I dream of, is not white, it’s palm fringed along the Mekong.  I guess most people look forward to the holidays all year, and would never consider missing cherished family traditions, and I completely understand that. This post is for those that share my wanderlust, and may wonder what it is like to skip our version of X’mas one year, in favor of an adventure!

Traveling during the Christmas season is a great way to stretch your minimal vacation time, escape the expensive December shopping frenzy, and for me, relax and embrace the JOY of the season. The downside is that it’s high season in Southeast Asia, so you will need to book early. And, of course, if you have a family that requires your attendance at holiday festivities, this may not work for you. But, I say, if you are one of those over-worked Americans with only 2 or 3 weeks vacation, give it some consideration, your family can probably live without you for one holiday season, and you will have a “proper” holiday! (proper, as in longer than 2 weeks!)

Santa on the Mekong!

Why am I drawn to Southeast Asia for the Christian holiday season?? Honestly, I am not really sure how this happened. Christmas was a big deal at our house growing up. All I know, is after honeymooning in Thailand and Vietnam over the holidays almost twenty years ago, I wanted to go back every year.

Need reasons?….The countries of Southeast Asia are predominantly Buddhist, but they love any excuse to put up colorful decorations, and wear Santa hats. Not to mention, the weather is delightful in Dec-Jan (if you like warm and humid) and shopping is WAY more fun (and a heck of a lot cheaper!). Plus, there are enough expats from Western countries, that you can easily find traditional Christian festivities, even church services, if you want them. I think the main draw for me, particularly at this time of year,  is he “vibe” – in contrast to our hectic, often exhausting, holiday rush, Southeast Asia is very relaxed – everyday life flows gently along the Mekong, and we happily fall right into this laid-back pace.

X'mas fun with the always-smiling locals.

We have spent several Christmas holidays in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. At home, the decorations, and shopping ads that appear just after Halloween, drive me nuts. They make me want to leave the country (almost as much as the politcal ads) In Asia, it’s not about gifts, it’s just a celebration! Most of the hotels have tastefully decorated trees in the lobby, and many offer western style Christmas dinners. We prefer to find a cute French restaurant and use the holiday as an excuse to treat ourselves to a nice bottle of Bordeaux and a pepper steak, at half the price of a similar meal at home. We have watched spectacular New Years Eve fireworks displays in Bangkok & Phnom Penh, even though they celebrate the Chinese, or Lunar New Year, which falls typically in late Jan or early Feb. One of my favorite memories – hanging out at sidewalk bar in Vientienne, on X’mas day, drinking “Beer Lao” with locals in Santa hats – it was classic!

Another thing we enjoy about holiday travel in Southeast Asia is that many of the foreigners working in Asia and the Middle East, instead of returning home for the holidays, use their vacation to explore neighboring countries. So you get to meet interesting expats, that have lived all over the world, wherever you go.

David and his elves awaiting their martinis.

There is nothing more exciting to me than having a ticket to BKK (Bangkok) in December! My mind spins with the options – so many places we have yet to visit, and so many we love to return to. I feel so at home there, and have so many great memories, and I am looking forward to creating many more this Dec-January! Watch for my posts starting SOON!


Cool? Or Creepy?

Marigot Bay, St Lucia

Marigot Bay, St Lucia

So, first morning in St Lucia, I log onto my computer, and have an email from Trip Advisor suggesting best stuff to do in Soufriere St Lucia. Huh? How the heck does Trip Advisor know that I am in Soufriere, St Lucia?

So far, I have not joined the ranks of those worried about our online privacy. I thought it would be a good thing for Google to track our internet searches, I figured every time I search, it’d be like casting a vote for more intelligent media, for products and websites that are a force for good in the world. I still hope that is the case, but I am also seeing the downside more clearly now, and it is getting a little creepy.

Like when I did some research on latex mattresses. We bought one 15 years ago, and we love it, but now apparently they are all the rage and shopping for them is so excruciatingly complex, I just decided to keep the old one!

After a few searches, every website I looked at for the next 2 weeks had the same ads for latex mattresses! It was pretty funny. As sophisticated as they are at Google, once you see what they are doing, it gets a little silly and you tune out the ads.

IMHO, Travel research and booking online is also becoming a major waste of time. There is just too much noise out there. Too many reviews to read. Too many FAKE reviews to weed through. Too many opinions. Too many “experts”. Too many “best of” lists. Too many “must do” lists. I think if we calculated how many hours we spend doing online research to plan our next vacation, we’d be able to take a whole extra week OFF every year if we just called a trusted travel agent or tour operator and let them do their job!

The thing that concerns me the most, is the “bubble” the internet is creating around all of us. Feeding us only what it knows we like, reaffirming what we already know, and insulating us from any differing views. THAT, I think, is a huge problem for our society, and I do not know how we fix it. Maybe it will just play itself out? People will become more savvy, turn away from the internet, and go back to shopping at their corner store, and using a good ol’ travel agent to book their trips?

9-11 epiphanies revisited…

9-11 left me questioning my life. I looked at my beliefs about people, the way I spent my time, the things I really cared about, and wondered “am I really making a difference?”. I always thought I was, but now, in a flash everything I was doing seemed trivial, exhausting, meaningless.

Nature always gives clarity

Mainly, I looked at my career – work I had so much passion for suddenly felt small, silly, even arrogant. What right did I have to be on TV? Who was I to tell people they should travel more? Why should anyone care what I think? And why beat my head against the wall?  Ever since we started Passport to Adventure, TV industry execs and “ratings data” had been telling us the American TV audience isn’t interested in travel. And now, just as our small band of world-wanderers was beginning to prove the powers-that-be wrong, this happens. (The 1990’s saw increases in the number of Americans traveling to “adventurous”, previously feared, destinations – it was an encouraging trend for us)

In the weeks that followed, like the rest of the world, I tried to get my head around what it all meant. What was true? How do we move forward? What can I do to help? Producing Passport to Adventure no longer felt right. I even wondered if I should pull it off the air – was it offensive to promote travel when our country was suffering?

Then, one morning, I had an “ah ha moment”. I realized that what I did was now more important than ever. Someone had to combat the images and fears bombarding us. A terrible thing had been done, by terrible people, but from my travels I knew that the world is not full of these people.

Travel taught me that the people in every corner of the world are far more like us than not – they are primarily kind & generous, they welcome travelers, and they want to be able to provide for their family, just like us.

Is she really so different from you?

I began thinking… the only way to stop the madness is for the people of the world to know each other, to see other religions and cultures as made up of fellow human beings, not as “with us or against us”. Even for those that don’t travel themselves, maybe a program like Passport to Adventure can help people understand each other? I know, it’s a big task, for a little show, but if we can affect one person, isn’t that worth not giving up?


I remembered a package I had received a few years before from an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn, New York. They had shown our China program in the classroom, then had the students answer some essay questions. When asked what they had learned from the program, one student wrote:

“I learned that Chinese people are not mean”.

And there were other similar comments. It was fascinating to see how early xenophobia can take hold. (Our new slogan? “Passport to Adventure – prying open one mind at a time”)

Ten years later, the same conviction still drives me, as Passport struggles through this tough economy, the shake-up of the  TV industry, and I look for the way forward. Once again I find myself taking inventory of what I value, what is important in life, and where we go from here. One thing I know for sure – I will continue my quest to know the people of the world.

Live small, travel BIG!