A Journey to Healing
if you get knocked off your feet
As this magazine goes to press, the city of Boston and the nation are still reeling from the bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15. At this writing, three are dead – including an 8-year-old boy – and hundreds are wounded, many severely. Investigators are sifting through the evidence and following leads, and authorities around the world have responded with tighter security at popular events and landmarks.
And for now, there are more questions than answers; who did this? And why?
Perhaps by the time you read this, some of those answers will have begun to emerge. But certain things are already clear; Boston’s a tough town, Americans are a resolute lot, and the human spirit everywhere in the world shares a common resilience in the face of adversity. Case in point; 78-year-old Bill Iffrig, a retired builder from Washington state, who was 5 yards from the finish line when the blast knocked him to the pavement. A marathon official help him to his feet, and Iffrig, determined not to give up, finished the race.
For the sense of purpose and shared aspirations we can be thankful, because it’s a picture that makes most of us work harder to heal our little corner of the world – wherever that corner happens to be at the moment. That’s why I believe travel is such an important part of life. Through it we can share our experiences and our worldviews across borders and time zones, and in so doing, maybe take some of the sting out of the tragic events that seem to come at us from all sides.
The task of publishing a monthly magazine has a rhythm to it – days of routine separated by hours of intense activity – catching flights, meeting deadlines, attending events, engaging, relating, connecting. It’s easy to forget in the midst of that cycle that there is a Story behind the stories that surrounds all my travels.
Thus it always comes as something of a surprise to me to find that you, gentle readers, are part of that larger Story too, and that you find the work that gets done during the days of routine is somehow entertaining or even inspiring. So I take genuine delight when the occasional e-mail pops up in my inbox with notes responding to the thoughts in these pages.
Documentary producer, world traveler and sometimescontributor to Business Traveler Bill Kizorek dropped a line to thank me for columns that are“reflective and impactful.”He said he thinks of me as“the philosopher of modern day business travel.” High praise, indeed. Thanks, Bill.
Keith Olson of Pacific Palisades, CA, read the story of my first airline flight (Talking Point, April 2013) and it led him to recall his own first time aboard an airliner, also an Ozark plane. He goes on to reminisce about other notable names in flying. He writes: “Braniff - remember their various color schemes? Laker Airways - ah, the interesting Freddie Laker. Jet America - the perfect airline if you needed to travel only from Long Beach, CA to Dayton, OH. Trump Shuttle - he sold it before he could fire it. Southern - things move slow down south and the few times I flew on this airline, we got there when we got there. They’d almost shrug,“What’s the rush?” People Express - from what I heard, “express”was a misnomer.” Fun stuff. Thanks, Keith, for jogging our memories. Of course, sometimes the e-mails we get simply point out errors and omissions. We work hard to keep those to a minimum, but when you find something, don’t hesitate to hold us to a higher standard. Communicate with us, and we really will try to respond as quickly as we can.
But the real joy is just getting to talk with fellow travelers about where we’ve been, how we got there and where we’re going next; that often is reward enough. So I look forward to your e-mails. Let’s start a conversation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the bombing in Boston. And as you travel, remember always that your journey may be the means to overcoming tragedy and fear. Wherever you go, treat it as an opportunity to create understanding, affinity, healing. BT