Or is it? After hearing something along the lines of this in a crappy Johnny Depp movie recently, it got me thinking. There was a time when I was younger that I the world around me was smaller than it is now. Now hold onto that thought while I explain. Growing up in the pre-internet age (yes, there was a time), my knowledge of the world was quite limited. So limited that a vast majority of what I thought was the world came from postcards my grandmother sent me as a kid and the unseen, but not discredited, Wonders of the World. Beyond that, it was limited to some history books at school, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and, of course, the trusty Encyclopedia Britannica which once lined the hallway of my house. And of course if there were any new places to venture, they would surely be included in the 200 page Year in Review that accompanied the encyclopedia each year. And there you have it, the world was within my reach. It was small and the thought that I could see it all was not only a reality, but a certainty. I mean, seriously, what would it take, a year or two to see it all?
Fast forward a bit and this idea called the world-wide web appears with a bit of a whimper at first. And then the idea caught on and all of a sudden I realized there were more than 7 Wonders of the World. In fact, there was no number that could truly quantify how many wonders existed, but the number could be truly astounding, possibly infinite. It didn’t take me long to realize that what was my small world suddenly, and exponentially, grew. And it’s still growing. Technology has done for us what books could not. It opened my eyes wider than I thought possible. For every place I visit, my list of hopefuls grows by 10…maybe 100. I honestly can’t keep up with how many places I want to go. I see, in High Definition where I want to visit, from every angle and perspective. 360 views, countless summaries and reviews. Tips that go on page after page. I suddenly feel…small.
It’s both a blessing and a curse, because it gives me the ominous feeling that my travel itinerary will never end, it will only be added to. Is that a bad thing? I guess not, but it does feel a bit uneasy knowing that the road never ends. I’m reminded of this often when I speak to my grandmother, the very one who sent me postcards from all over the world. Realistically, her traveling journey has ended. Emotionally, her adventure continues through us. In a time when travel was dominated by guidebooks, unsubstantiated tips from others and literally flying by the seat of your pants, she saw the world, many times over. I often wish she could have utilized the tools that are at my disposal, but there was no need. She did it the hard way, the fun way. There was not 3 million images of a solitary place like we see now. As a matter of fact, many of the places she saw only came to be seen when her own eyes found them, by simply rounding the corner. The views are no less dramatic now and my excitement for each trip builds as I near each destination, even when I do know what I will soon see. Looking at it from that perspective, I should be happy that the adventure will never end. My mind’s eye holds it tight and when I need a little pick-me-up, all I have to do is reflect. Who would have known so many years ago as a little kid gazing at a postcard over and over what the future would hold for him and his family. I fondly remember when I was a big person in a small world and I relish the reality that I’m a small traveler in a big world. So if the world is your oyster, you better tie that bib on, because this meal will never end.