Over the years, I’ve visited nearly 30 countries in North America, South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Europe (where I’ve traveled so many times I’ve completely lost count).
But I’ve never been to Africa. And as an African-American, that sounds pretty pathetic.
Places on the continent are always on my mental “to-do” list, West African countries like Senegal and North African ones like Egypt and Morocco. But I haven’t made it there yet.
I started thinking about this during President Barack Obama’s recent trip to Ghana….
Continue July 16, 2009
You know what struck me watching the post-election events unfold in Iran this week? How something as seemingly simple as the act of traveling can make SUCH a difference when it comes to intercultural understanding. Thank goodness we in the United States finally have a president who’s thoughtful and respectful of other folks in the world… but there are still some – and largely on the conservative end of the spectrum – who still see the world as “us” versus “them.” I just wonder what our country’s – and the world’s – relationships would be like if more of us traveled to “their” nation, saw how “they” lived, understood how “they” thought.
And that reminded me of a thought-provoking and in hindsight, truly prescient new book I just picked up from acclaimed travel writer (and of course, PBS television star) Rick Steves. In Travel as a Political Act, Steves explains that there’s far more travel than “good-value hotels, great art and tasty cuisine.” While he writes about travels throughout Europe (his travel business’s main focus), El Salvador, and Morocco, it’s his “Mission: Understand Iran” chapter that speaks most to me now….
Continue June 19, 2009