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Features

2009
ISSUE
30
Globe Spinning
By Gardner Robinson

When I was a kid, I was the master of procrastination. I could sit in my room and entertain myself for hours to avoid doing homework. I’d spend more time memorizing statistics on my American football and basketball cards than studying math. Instead of my geography, I’d grab the black globe off the shelf and stare at the strange names of places I could barely pronounce.

I recognized the Midway Island from stories my grandfather would tell about when he was stationed there as a doctor in the navy during World War II. Nearby, toward Hawaii, I spotted a little island called “Gardner” which, I imagined, must be some lost tribe awaiting my valiant return, no doubt with a celebration fit for a king.

I’d close my eyes and give the old black globe a spin, put my finger down on a random spot and see where I’d land next. Familiar names would warrant another whirl. This is how I discovered places such as Macau, New Zealand, Borneo and Bhutan, exotic names a world away.

Today, there’s still a globe next to my desk. Fewer names are unfamiliar, but I still give it a spin from time to time and daydream about all the places yet to explore. I’ve learned it’s more difficult be apathetic about typhoons, floods and mudslides thousands of miles away when you’ve shared meals with the people who live there.Perhaps this is the noblest of reasons to travel. To expand our humanity.

Yet people travel for many reasons. Curiosity, relaxation, escape, adventure. Whatever your raison d’être, there is a lot in store for you in Asia. The big wheel keeps on turning; now all you have to do is put your finger down and go.