Steve discovers his roots
One of my favourite activities is delivering talks and presentations to travel professionals and consumers. I always include a talk about dynamic positivity and infectious enthusiasm. These terms refer to that captivating joy that one gets from travel. Sitting on a plane or cruise ship or train, going to a place for the sole reason that the name was so exotic or enigmatic that you just had to go there; meeting people who don't speak your language and where you don't speak their language; tasting different foods, learning about culture and history and sharing dreams...this is the thrill of travel.
In 1990 in a village in Northern Thailand, we sat on the porch of the headman's home, chatting through an interpreter. At one point in the conversation we asked headman about his dreams. He thought for a brief moment and then responded that his dream would be to plant crops in all four sections of the village fields every year, instead of having to leave one field fallow. His dream was to have more food for the village, which meant happiness, security, nutrition and healthy children.
In 1992 in a tent in Pokhara, Nepal, as we learned to play the chess-like game of "Tigers and Goats", we asked one of the porters about his dreams. He said, without any hesitation, that he wanted to be hired as a full time trekking guide and be able to eat 'dal baht' (rice and lentils) every day. His dream was to have a steady job so he could eat well.
Travel in the Spirit of Namaste
Travel, discussion, curiosity, respect and sensitivity are the tools that help us embrace a genuine empathy toward the people we meet during our travels. I often refer to this as "Travel in the Spirit of Namaste", a greeting used in India and Nepal that means 'the spirit in me salutes (or bows to) the spirit in you".
It's the ultimate recognition of respect. This is what travel and discovery are all about.
One of my favourite songs is 'Wooden Ships' by Crosby, Stills and Nash. The first line is a call to action for every traveller.
"If you smile at me, I will understand
'cause that is something everybody, everywhere does
in the same language"