My father passed away while I was visiting Japan. Just before I left for that trip I visited my parents in Maine and took them for a late March drive. The drive lasted a couple of hours and we drove the equivalent of perhaps a 30 mile radius from my home town.
When we finished the drive the last words I recall of my father was "we just went around the world". I questioned what he meant. He told me that when he was a child, his father would pile all the children into their car, and they made the same trip that I had just taken my father on. He said when his father had completed the trip, that's the words that he had used at the time.
I reflected on those words later. I came to realize just how true they are for most people. The more I travel, I see the world that most people experience is even smaller than that 30 mile radius. I think for much of the world the radius is as small as a mile.
My father lived 99% of his life in that relatively small circle. He had travelled to Hawaii, Nashville, Florida, and places more local like New Hampshire, but almost all his life was within that circle or perhaps a little larger of 50 mile radius.
In lesser developed countries there is no easily accessible transportation and they have no money to travel. They live almost exclusively in their village. Perhaps a parent may venture a few miles to work, but the family stays in the village. To go to a nearby city would be an exciting and huge life event which many never experience.
There are many others who can afford to travel but chose not to do so. They are content in their area and see no need to go somewhere else. Why should one travel if they are most happy in their spot? I actually envy the people who find no need to travel.
I've noticed the people of the world who cannot travel are not unhappy people. I think sometimes they are even happier because they learn to appreciate the simple things in life they do have.
Children in India who never traveled. But they appreciate the simple things.
I have a wanderlust that is difficult to satiate. Even when I'm traveling I'm already planning my next trip. I think I love the anticipation of that next trip as much as the trip itself. But as much as I enjoy traveling sometimes I'm left with the feeling, is that it? Is that all to the world? Just doesn't seem big enough to me.
I understand why the billionaire and his son died as they took the plunge into the deep recently to view the Titanic. I see why billionaires spend money to board a space vehicle to view the world from the heavens. They do it because they too want to see more than is available to most men. They have an extreme wanderlust and want a bigger world.
I've come to realize the physical size of our world is unimportant. It's what you do within the area you occupy, wherever that is. A preacher I know once loved to use the phrase, "sweep your own doorstep ". He meant we are to do the best in whatever world we live in and wherever we are located.
My fortunate position to be able to see the world is not lost on me. I'm really not sure if it even is a fortunate position. But I know I have a privledged position to be born in the USA and have access to travel, whether I take advantage of it or not. I think of myself as an ambassador as I come into contact with people and not act the bad American part. I hope I'm sweeping properly.