Written by: Chris Boan
Top of the afternoon to you all; I had the good fortune of making the 7,000-mile trek across the equator to the wild and wonderful nation of South Africa in Oct. 2009, when my mother and I traveled to Cape Town on a whim.
I’ll never forget waking up each morning to the sting salt water wafting into our hotel room overlooking Table Bay, and the buzz of the hustle and bustle of the vast metropolis below, and the wonder I felt when I gazed upon Table Mountain shooting out of the sea some 3,500 feet in elevation in the distance.
The trip, which I took during my senior year of high school, stoked a fire inside me to see as much of this beautiful earth of ours while I could, and opened my eyes to the world beyond my cozy Maryland town.
The trip also opened my eyes to the level of disparate poverty that’s commonplace in Africa, as we’d see shantytowns that were teeming with people on the outskirts of town. I have always sensed the need to write for a living since I was a young boy, and to tell the stories of those who can’t, and our trip to the southern tip of Africa only enhanced that desire.
I came back with a greater sense of the path I wanted to blaze in life, and knew that my future needed to include more extensive trips to far-flung places that were worlds away from my day-to-day existence. I’m still chasing that dream, working the day-to-day grind like everyone else, but know that all my work will one day allow me to undertake such whirlwind adventures.
There’s an old cliché that the world is your oyster, and it’s something that I believe in strongly. If you have the means to travel abroad and get a better sense of your place in this caffeine-addled world of ours then I’d highly recommend that you do just that.
No one wants to the end of their days and wonder what might have been, or what could have happened — the best way of avoiding such a fate is to jump at any opportunity to explore and to be comfortable with the uncomfortable nature of not knowing what lies ahead.
I’ve taken plenty of chances in my life, including choosing journalism as a career field in a time when the going is tough for many at outlets across the globe.
I feel the ability to tell others stories is inherently important, and feel the exact same way about the need to go outside, fly 15 hours and interact with people who’s customs and cultures are completely different than your own. I’ll gladly jump at the chance to travel to Papua New Guinea, or the steppes of Mongolia in the future, and it’s all because of my five-day jaunt to the land of jackass penguins, rugby and Nelson Mandela.
I couldn’t be happier to have the health and vitality to travel the globe, and I’d recommend that all of you do the same.