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The Ride of Your Life

Traveling is like riding a roller coaster for the first time. Going up that huge incline, you're terrified. You're so far away from the ground, from what's familiar. Then you go over the hump. When you get back to the ground you wonder why the trip was so short and why you were being such a fraidy cat. Then you get back in line to do it again and again and again. Up there on the roller coaster, you see everything for yourself, not through the eyes of a photographer or historian.

Everyone goes abroad for different reasons. I wanted to see what my history books were talking about and read Le Monde and the Berliner Zeitung hot off their respective presses. I wanted to see the world through the eyes of a working alien, not a visiting tourist on a whirlwind European bus tour.

When you travel, you're picking up something other than souvenir postcards or key chains. You're picking up puzzle pieces that fit together to reveal the fearless, unstoppable you. You're learning what it is to strike out on your own. You are brave. It may not seem like it. After all, you're just taking a trip. But think about how many of our countrymen haven't even been outside their own state. They don't know about the Aborigines in Australia or the fairies of Scotland. You're going to a place that most of us have only read about. And rather than cower in fear from it, you're stepping to the front of that roller coaster line, preparing for one of the best rides of your life.

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