We just got back from a family holiday in Greece, the birthplace of democracy and mathematics, medicine and literature, theatre and astronomy, mythology and philosophy:
- walking in the steps of Socrates at the Acropolis and Agora in Athens
- visiting the oldest western archeological sites & civilization of the Minoans in Knossos on Crete (at least 1,300 years and some believe civilizations flourished there 7,000 years BEFORE Christ)
- sailing around Santorini
- chasing Rhodes scholars
- exploring Hydra and Mykonos
- and marveling in natural wonder
- with a bonus of running into my best friend from college Ricky and his family who live in Missouri and happened to be in Mykonos at the same time we were!
There are no accidents
Awe is indeed the beginning of wisdom, especially when you walk on the earth and explore civilizations that are literally thousands of years old!
A newbie by comparison, Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech in 1863 builds on similar democratic principles as ancient Greece developed; “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. …”
One of the best known sentences in the English language, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” girths this nation’s foundation and moral compass yet…
Fast forward to 2018 and we are still engaged in a great and not so civil war, testing whether this nation or any nation can long endure, challenging what it means to be human, and to what degree we feel responsible for preserving and protecting the dignity of all human life, and all life on our tiny blue planet.
To know and not to do, it not to know…
Whether you stay home and open your mind and heart, travel just a few kilometers away from home base, or are blessed to be able to explore life and societies much further away, travel is great to provide perspective and open your mind to a big, wide world out there. It can help us adjust our ethnocentric sense of terminal uniqueness and bring fresh eyes to old challenges.
We are Rick Steves fans and I love his travel philosophy that follows, which you can apply in your own back yard too by the way…
Rick’s Travel Philosophy:
Travel is freedom… one of the last great sources of legal adventure. Travel is intensified living, with maximum thrills per minute. It’s recess, and we need it. Experiencing the real Europe requires catching it by surprise, going casual…
Affording travel is a matter of priorities. (Make do with the old sofa.) You can travel simply, safely, and comfortably anywhere in Europe for $100 a day plus transportation costs. In many ways, spending more money only builds a thicker wall between you and what you came to see. Europe is a cultural carnival, and time after time, you’ll find that its best acts are free and the best seats are the cheap ones.
A tight budget forces you to travel close to the ground, meeting and communicating with the people. Never sacrifice sleep, nutrition, safety, or cleanliness in the name of budget. Simply enjoy the local-style alternatives to expensive hotels and restaurants.
Extroverts have more fun. If your trip is low on magic moments, kick yourself and make things happen. If you don’t enjoy a place, maybe you don’t know enough about it. Seek the truth. Recognize tourist traps. Give a culture the benefit of your open mind. See things as different but not better or worse. Any culture has much to share.
Of course, travel, like the world, is a series of hills and valleys. Be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic. If something’s not to your liking, change your liking. Travel is addicting. It can make you a happier American, as well as a citizen of the world. Our Earth is home to 7.4 billion equally important people. It’s humbling to travel and find that people don’t envy Americans. Europeans like us, but with all due respect, they wouldn’t trade passports.
Globetrotting destroys ethnocentricity. It helps you understand and appreciate different cultures. Travel changes people. It broadens perspectives and teaches new ways to measure quality of life. Many travelers toss aside their hometown blinders. Their prized souvenirs are the strands of different cultures they decide to knit into their own character. The world is a cultural yarn shop. Back Door Travelers are weaving the ultimate tapestry.
Earth is home to 8.7 million species (plus or minus 1.3 million) with approximately 1 million species living in the world’s oceans and 91% of ocean species are yet to be classified!
Don’t poop where you eat
Our interdependency with our ecosystem should not be underestimated and here is one story that underscores that reality…
Human Health and the Health of Oceans- The Science and Environmental Hazards Behind Fish Oil Supplements:
Paul Greenberg examines the effects supplements are having on fish populations and the ecosystems of our oceans while we try to boost cardiovascular and brain health…
Stay adventurous and enjoy your summer wherever you find yourself and keep up the work on finding yourself!
Thanks to my wife Barbara for investing countless hours in curating an incredible family trip.
Happy 27th Anniversary Barb!
“Difference- The Only thing we have in Common”