Pittsburgh:  Saturday morning. Post-Starbucks and pre-wedding planning day with Kate and Nik, Anthony and Chelsea, Ila and Neal.In a mellow, grateful, Thanksgiving Weekend mood.


It occurred to me, as I was returning from my third trip to NYC last week, that perhaps I have been around the world (24, 901 miles) in the last 80 days. Using rough estimates of round-trip mileage, it appears that I can claim Jules Verne’s title if not his characters’ adventures: Here were my trips since September:

1. NYC Sept. 10-13

2. Vancouver Sept. 24-28

3. Los Angeles Oct. 9-11

4. Tulsa Oct 15-17

5. NYC Oct. 22-26

6. Prague Nov. 9-15

7. NYC Nov. 19-20

8. Pittsburgh Nov 25-28

Travel extends the mind’s eye like no other experience, even the “frigate” of a book, to borrow Emily Dickinson’s phrase.  When outer journeys lead to inner journeys and inner ones extend out into the world, growth happens. Does the “inner imprint” of growth justify the outer impact of a big “carbon footprint”? I can’t claim that it does. I feel an obligation to the earth to become a better person if I expend the personal and business expense (not just in dollars but in time and carbon also) of travel.

One way to make travel worthwhile is to “ponder it in the heart,” which is one reason I value blogging.  Already readers of 100Memoirs.com have learned about the wedding trip in September to NYC.  And along the way Stuart and I have shared on FaceBook a number of slideshows intended to be “frigates” for friends and readers who are interested in either the places we visit or our experiences of those places.

For now, I will simply offer you links to slideshows and then ask you to share your own reflections on travel and self-exploration.

Wedding weekend slideshow:  New York, Sept.

Vancouver Peace Summit/Fetzer Prize for Love and Forgiveness to Archbishop Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Second slideshow featuring Vancouver.

Tulsa, OK, weekend with our new daughter-in-law Chelsea’s family.

Combo slide show of LA, Tulsa, and NYC-all October weekend trips.

Personal/business trip to New York with Anthony,Chelsea, Bill Moyers, Judith Moyers, Judy Collins

Prague business (for me) and personal (for Stuart with me squeezing in a little tourist time also)

NYC quick business trip to see Karen Armstrong at TED headquarters. No slides.

Pittsburgh. Slides will follow.

Stuart traveled to Lithuania right before I went to Vancouver. Here are his pictures from that trip.

Between the two of us we may have circumnavigated the world twice in the last 80 days. We feel blessed and stretched. And obligated to you and to the rest of the world. Travel is a great privilege. We hope to settle down for a few weeks in the Advent season and “ponder these things in our hearts.”

What have you learned from your own travel? What would you like to know about the trips described above?

Shirley Showalter


  1. Gutsywriter on November 30, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Shirley, You know I can only agree with you regarding travel and the benefits. I think your life feels three times longer than an average person's who does not travel, or hates to travel and experience new adventures. Welcome HOME. I did post about Hope Edelman today, thanks to you.

  2. shirleyhs on December 4, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Sonia, you have traveled many more miles than I have, so you know the way travel stretches the soul. I learn from you.Thanks for the pingback on your blog. I continue to be amazed by the care and feeding you give to your own writing and to your readers.

Leave a Comment