I shall be telling this with a sigh
somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood and I -
I took the one less traveled by
and that has made all the difference

excerpt from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

The best way to travel is not by car, bus, train, boat or airplane.
The best way to travel is by foot.
To walk along a trail that is a highway for feet, for those who live in villages where a paved road never existed.
These are the places that I relish visiting.








 

In terms of learning another language (as mentioned on the School Days page, it is important to know the greeting, to ask “How are you?” and “What is your name?” When shopping “How much?”, the numbers, expensive, cheap, half, whole and a quarter (measurements). The words for water, food (and specific food items), today, tomorrow, hot, cold, good and bad. The most usual phrase is to be able to ask, “How do you say?” After learning this phrase, I point at everything and when they answer I write the word in my journal. When hiking on trails, the words for direction (left, right, straight), distance (close, far), landmarks (bridge, mountain, river, tree) and weather (rain, snow, sun, wind). And most importantly, the words for “Where is the bathroom?” Sometimes you have to gesture in order to be understood (use your imagination to figure out how you would do that!).

The most entertaining words I learn are “I’m crazy!” When I arrived in an Egyptian village along the Nile River, in Arabic I explained with a smile on my face – “Ana magnon” – or in Hindi when hiking in the Indian Himalaya (similar to Urdu in Pakistan) – “Mugee pagal” or in Mandarin when walking in fields in rural China – “Waa funkwa.” The villagers smiling at me must be thinking, ”Yes indeed, this man is crazy!”

Traveling has always been my passion. From the days of my youth when my family crowded into a station wagon and drove around the northeastern United States, to my college summers spent hitch-hiking across the country, to fourteen months in Alaska after my college graduation, to my first global sojourn around the world, traveling has and will always be my greatest love. It is exciting, enthralling and my raison d'etre.

Unlike most travelers, the luxury I have is time. Visiting a place for a week or two is wonderful but the impression felt is somewhat fleeting. Visiting a country for one, two or three months enables the traveler to forego a schedule, experience a new culture, to occasionally be a participant rather than simply an observer and leaves indelible memories. The beauty of travel is to venture off the tourist path, to walk the road less traveled and to interact with those who rarely see outsiders. From them, marvelous things are learned and life itself takes on a new perspective. These type of experiences can forever change your life. Indeed, they have changed mine.

My father always asks, "What do you do all day?" knowing the villages I relish visiting do not have televisions, radios or theatres. What is amazing is that in these remote places the entire day is filled with wonderful activities, events and surprises. To me, it is important to relax, enjoy and smell the flowers!


 

 

 

 

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