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The Value of Being a Foreigner

July 19, 2012

This week, Ted’s Alma mater, Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon, shares his essay about the impacts of extended international travel on his understanding of the world and ability to love.

“One of the most important reasons to travel is to know what it feels like to be a foreigner.” – A. A. Gill

Not until I had been off North American soil for three months did I fully realize how much I missed home. South America was still “America;” I don’t know what I expected, but I didn’t expect to feel so out of place, so distant, so foreign. On a daily basis, I found myself in situations where I was completely dependent on local people for the most basic necessities: food, water, transportation, communication. There was no “Spanglish” spoken here.

Thirty-one months after graduating from Multnomah, my wife and I embarked on a one-year backpacking journey around the world. We quit our jobs, mine at a local homeless shelter, hers at a landscape architecture firm, sold our stuff, and with much idealism began our journey in Lima, Peru. Today, I sit in a breezy apartment in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, reflecting on the last six months, bracing for the next half.

If there is one thing I wasn’t prepared for, it was being a foreigner in a foreign land. Sure, I’ve been places before—Europe, Mexico, Canada. But these days one can travel to all kinds of places without really having to leave the comfort and familiarity of ‘America.’ When we finally got off the beaten path, in Southern Bolivia for instance, or in Northern Lebanon, or on the undeveloped side of a Cape Verde island, we experienced a different kind of travel. We became at times guests, at times imposters, at times gawking and squawking ignorants, but always at the mercy of the land and people around us…

(Continue reading at the Multnomah University Blog)

Guest Posts, Tidbits About Us

Captain & Clark Feature twoOregonians

December 14, 2011

Join us today for Wandering Wednesday at Captain & Clark: The Modern Cartographers.

We’re sharing stories from our World Cup 2010 trip to British Columbia and letting you in on a few favorite spots in Vancouver along Commercial Drive…We met world travelers Chris and Tawny through our first RTWdinnerparty, and we’re excited for their upcoming 2012 adventure: heading to Post Office Bay in the Galapagos Islands, retrieving letters from the wooden whiskey barrel mailbox, and hand delivering the contents to recipients around the globe.

Follow their travels at Captain & Clark and keep in touch on Twiter: @CaptainandClark.