Get Educated—

I busy myself addressing three things in life: writing, teaching, and caring for Ginger, a 60-pound Irish Setter puppy. All three are extremely time-consuming. I’m either in front of my computer most of the day, and when I am not, I am taking Ginger for a walk around the lake. Several weeks ago, I had just returned from circumnavigating the lake on which I live with Ginger. While she would have taken another long walk, I had to teach.

I teach two online classes, which are survey classes dealing with world religions. During the semester, I posted many comments about the educational value of traveling. As much as I am committed to learning in the classroom, traveling is essential. I have written many essays about overseas travel.

There is a vast gap between learning from a textbook and that of learning by being there, wherever there might be. Travel to the country where your family was originally from. Once you have done that, you will not only learn but also will want to explore other locations. I have traveled so much that I want to go to places that aren’t well-known in the West. Asia and Southeast Asia are my favorite destinations. Over the past couple decades, students have heard my educational mantra, Get Educated—Travel.

Students over the years reply that they can’t afford traveling abroad. Granted it is costly. However, it is costlier not to travel...if being a well-rounded, educated adult is a goal of yours. It changes you for the better due to your experiencing first hand any country and its people. In one class, I got carried away with George Eliot’s notion of being all that one can be issue. This was part of my response to the class:

Read this essay; George Eliot was thought to have said, “It's never too late to be what you might have been.” Trust me; she is correct.

However, there is a caveat to it not being too late. Someday, on your death bed, it will be too late. Having done the dance with death, believe me.

Overseas travel will trump all other learning from textbooks. Travel adds dimensionality to your reading. Go to This is where I have been just in the last few years. Look at any picture. I’d talk about that photo excitedly for as long as you will listen to me.

In the other class, a student, Antonia, and I got into a long discussion online about traveling.


Antonia wrote in part, “I love learning new things, and I think that it is very important to get understanding about things in life, and experience as much you can. I'm looking forward to being able to travel to distant lands and learn about the people, the place, the culture, and the religions up close and personal.”

This was my reply to Antonia.

This is as honest as I can make the issue of travel. It is costly, but it is too costly not too travel. I ain't rich or near rich. I drive a 2009 Jetta with over 200,000 miles on it. I hope not to buy another car for several years....

However, I want to return to Burma/Myanmar and interview the Lady. That will cost almost half of what a new car would cost when you add airfares, hotels, meals, and guides. The issue is for you and the class to decide what is important in life...things or learning through travel. Then act. However, think about what is important before deciding.

I mentioned George Eliot and Middlemarch in an announcement this week. Go to my website: Eliot is thought to have said, “It's never too late to be what you might have been.”

What Eliot and I are saying applies to students and to adults in general. Education is a lifelong experience, and traveling abroad is essential.

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