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Travel: It doesn't matter where you go as long as you go.

Three hours in Dubai. It’s a start.

It could also be 20 minutes in Fresno Airport, waiting in line at Amtrak or sitting in traffic on the Bay Bridge. The important part is that you’re on your way.

It’s that first step that’s the hardest. I’ve been writing about this first step for years (Just Put on the Shoes) and it’s quite possibly because it’s the hardest one. No one writes about the 24th step or even the 1,292nd step, although I’ve heard talk about the 23rd mile in a marathon. But it’s the first that’s the hardest. That 23rd mile has more to do with perseverance than initial momentum.

It’s taking that step out of the house, researching where you’re going and pulling that big, heavy trigger that will get you non-refundable tickets to … somewhere. Pretty much anywhere other than where you are now will do.

But it’s so easy to stay and one place. It’s just so comfortable.

Being “comfortable” can be more difficult to escape from than other challenges: no time, no money, no neither, inspiration, focus, etc. If you don’t really need to do something, it makes it that much harder. But how we define “need to do something” ranges widely. As with just about anything, we’ll do what we think is important. I happen to think travel is one of the most important thing we humans can do. After a month on the road, the first reason that comes to mind is that we: learn more about where we’re from when we leave it. 

Observations of Dubai Airport at 3 in the morning …

  • Tang: you can buy a huge tub of Tang (yes, the instant breakfast drink) at Duty Free. No, I can’t explain further.
  • Nachos: you can truly get nachos anywhere in the world. They’re rarely going to get close to freshly baked La Banderita corn tortillas smothered in refried beans, covered in cheese and topped off with a healthy dollup of sour cream.
  • Burqa: I admit I’m inexperienced in this area. I’m just not used to the full body black garments worm by some women.
  • Time: this place is as alive as any other time of the day in any other airport.

I wouldn’t have known any of these fascinating facts had I not just gotten on the plane. Is my world broader? Do I have a better understanding of the cultures of the world? Do I understand that kids between 10 and 12 need to eat even if it’s the middle of the night and a burger is always a burger?


  • Possible: stay home
  • Impossible: be a sane nomad
  • Repossible: get on the plane