Explore Dream Discover

Posted on May 17, 2010

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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

I saw this quote and realized: my first 20 years of life passed 5 years ago, so let’s see…

When I had the courage to take a break and win the inner battles of reason (finances) vs emotion (desire to discover and explore) I traveled. So did millions of others. For example, last year New York City alone had 45 million visitors. This translated into $28 billion spent by visitors in 2009. Unable to find 2009 data, I looked at what the figures were in 2008.

According to the estimates by Paris Office of Tourism, the City of Lights saw over 15 million tourists in 2008.  London had more than 14 million visitors in 2008.

UNTO report says over 992 million traveled internationally in 2008. To make this figure work, just imagine the entire population of Europe, including Russia, Turkey, plus another million of people traveled internationally. This makes around 14 % of the entire world population. Does it mean 992 million got to know each others’ cultures a little better? Perhaps so.

What is interesting is that the majority of us, travelers, chose not to go to places we know little about or have some preconceived notions of. Hardly do we visit places we haven’t seen a picture of on a big ad-board or a journal cover.

Countries with historical treasures, cultural depth, and natural beauty remain undiscovered due to insufficient travel industry provisions, bad infrastructure and millions of other obstacles.

While we are all struggling to overcome credit crunch, unfavorable travel conditions and regional wars and inner battles, there might be several things we could do to still be exposed to various cultures.

Books!

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. This is a story of one man’s mission to promote peace by building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. These are places I doubt I will ever have a chance to visit. And yet I explore and discover with every page I turn.

These web sites have information about travel and cultures are great to follow.

Matador Network

World Traveler

Lisa Lubin

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