National Geographic Live: Travelers of the Year
We spent five full days in Washington D.C. We visited incredible museums and estates, stood where Martin Luther King delivered his “I have a dream” speech
and even tried our hand at delivering the news at the Newseum.
The city is a great one for kids and has Ethan thinking we should consider doing a U.S. roadtrip this summer. (And I’m consdering it!) Too often what we hear about the U.S.A. up here in the North is negative. A spot for shopping malls and getting tans and not much else. But in Washington D.C. and in Philadelphia last summer, we’ve found great cities perfect for exploring as a family.
The National Geographic Headquarters didn’t disappoint either. The Birds of Paradise exhibit was on and while I met with one of the editors, the boys headed in to explore. I have to admit I was worried. I expected to be (and was) gone about an hour and at this time, it was the sole exhibit at the museum. I fully expected to come back and find the boys pacing the halls outside. Instead, I had to seek them out. They were completely absorbed in the exhibit, practicing their mating dance and learning all about natural selection.
I should’ve expected no less.
National Geographic IS a family friendly enterprise. Their mission to “inspire people to care about the planet” is one that kids and adults alike can relate to. The boys had a blast.
It was a pleasant reminder since National Geographic was after all the reason we were in D.C. Our family, along with three of our fellow Travelers of the Year honourees, were invited to share our stories in a Q&A National Geographic Live presentation. And it was a phenomenal affair.
For a lifelong fan of the franchise to be up on stage and in front of a crowd of people who feel much like I do
* that the world is a phenomenal place
* that more children should see more of it
* that we place a lot of emphasis, here in North America, on “things” that really don’t have much long term value and neglect the opportunities to make a real impact
was one of the most rewarding moments of my career so far.
When it was over I was thanked for being inspiring but the truth is I was also inspired. People like:
The 15 year old skateboarding phenom who is travelling the world, board in hand, to inspire teens to travel – was another reminder of how much we underestimate our youth. When asked what advice he’d offer to kids whose parents don’t take them all the way to Nicaragua or Brazil, he answered profoundly that they just need to start by looking at their neighbourhoods in a new light. Wow.
Paula Busey A librarian who befriended an ambitious Masai warrior in Kenya and saw in their friendship an opportunity to show privileged kids in Colorado that Africa was about more than they had been led to believe. Her efforts have changed the lives of countless school children who benefited from meeting Samwel and gaining a deeper understanding of the world beyond their school walls.
A passionate and talented photographer who wanted to do something different…and did. He spent 365 days on the road with his faithful dog Maddie meeting and photographing a new stranger each day. His belief in the power of every single person’s story resonated with me. And his description of what he’s gained from the experience had the audience in awe.
The evening was magical. And I’m so glad we got to be a part of it.
You can read more about these and other Travelers of the Year here.
*Note: the event was taped and once available I’ll share it here. I hope that you’ll be inspired too.