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Friday, May 02, 2008

Travel

I recently bought a National Geographic TRAVELER magazine on a recent business trip (the main magazine article was about Paris, and the Eiffel Tower was on the cover - anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for the Eiffel Tower...) and there was a terrific quote that I want to share with everyone:

"If I had a choice between sending someone to travel the world and sending him/her to college, I would send him/her around the world. You will learn far more about the world by traveling, far more about your own life, what the future of this world is. More solutions to problems like global warming, poverty, and war would result if people did more traveling, because that is how you find out that others are just like you. They want peace. They want decent jobs. They want to make the world a better place for their children. Having traveled all these years, I've concluded that the citizens of the world are far more open and tolerant and hospitable than governments, overall. Most people are kind, generous, and open-hearted. They really want to welcome you. What is interesting is that the poorer the country, the more generous the people. That is one of those remarkable things in life."

I had the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Norway when I was a student at Iowa State and have to give all the thanks in the world to my parents for allowing me the opportunity to do that. So in a sense, they gave me the chance to experience the best of both worlds.

Now that I work for a living, one of the best parts of my job (maybe THE best) is having the opportunity to travel to different projects across the country. Over the past few years, I have been able to go to New York City, Boston, Chicago, upstate New York and Lake Placid, Virginia, Rhode Island and the best place of all, Ames, Iowa! All for my job! There is always at least one interesting thing that happens on every trip, and I want to try and write a blog entry after every trip, and share what that interesting thing is. No matter what, there is always something that will stick with me forever.

I mentioned going to Virginia. I went to a Medium Voltage transformer plant in Bland (think dueling banjos), Virginia for a factory witness test. The night beforehand, I went to dinner with a few guys and their wives from the plant. I said I was from Wisconsin and we talked about the difference in weather and everything like that. It was prior to the NCAA Basketball tournament, and I was asked by one of the wives , "Who do ya'll cheer for on the West Coast?" Me: must think and respond quickly, but West Coast? Why would she ask me about the West Coast?

Once it hit me that she thought I said Washington instead of Wisconsin, I was floored and didn't know what to say. I think I said something to the effect of, "In Wisconsin, we really don't cheer for anyone on the west coast." She was awfully embarrassed, and her husband said they would have to get out the atlas when they got home, which doubled her embarrassment.

I used to get the same thing from southerners when I said I was from Iowa. In general, they are not sure you said Idaho, Ohio, or Iowa, and also because they probably do not know where those states are anyway. I think it goes to prove that this country is TOO big; there are so many different types of people, with different customs, cultures, and English dialects (much more than just accents).

Next time I will share my Indiana Jones moment from the mini-bar in my New York City hotel room...

2 Comments:

Blogger gomattolson said...

That's awesome Mike! Can't wait to hear about your Indy story. Interestingly enough, I just blogged about being a world citizen too (well, sort of). I agree -- we all need to travel more!

10:21 PM  
Blogger Anita & Joost said...

Wasn't Amsterdam the Capital of Germany???

2:50 PM  

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