Todd Borgie- Expedition Educator
Samuel Johnson, "All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it."
I am as curious as they come; I just love to figure out how things work, and that includes the world. I love to travel and I travel at every chance I get. You will see me in old cloths taking odd jobs just to make enough money to go traveling. It doesnít take much money to make me happy, I just like to see and learn about things. Some call me a perpetual student; I just think it is a great journey never knowing where I am going to end up. Traveling has given me the opportunity to see people in their home environments. While I am traveling I am able to see first hand how people live, what they eat, and what makes them laugh, I often make them laugh. I donít believe in taking life too seriously, although there are moments when I get stressed out. During these times I just need to remember, or someone needs to remind me, that life is fun and an adventure, and it is really nothing to get stressed out over. You donít know anything until you learn it. I like to make everything into games, as the next best thing to playing and winning is playing and losing. I look for the best in people, because I want them to look for the best in me. The world is really is how you make it.
I started traveling young when my parents would take my sisters and I for long road trips. Minnesota, Washington D.C. and Canada, I am from California. On my first trip, when I was four, my grandfather packed special treats for us kids, when we crossed state borders we would get a new treat be it a sticker, candy or an activity book. Since then I have loved to cross into new places.
I first had the opportunity to travel abroad when I left the country in 1992 with the US Peace Corps. I worked as a forestry and agriculture volunteer in the small village of Brikama Ba, The Gambia. I didnít have electricity or running water, but the community was great. People smiled from their toes and everyone had time for a conversation. If you walked by someone without saying hello, you in effect saying you were to good to talk to them. I hope I never do that.
Traveling allows people to step out of their personal comfort zones, and often changes how they look at the world. Before I went to Africa I thought the place was strange and exotic, and somewhat frightening, something out of National Geographic. What I learned was that it was indeed a strange and exotic place, but these strange people became my family, I spoke their language and ate the same food, suffered under the same hot sun, and danced through the many celebrations from births to marriages, as a matter of fact they were just like me! Traveling allows me to see how small the world is, and always reminds me that people, around the world, are more similar than different.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." -- Mark Twain
Every expedition reminds me how similar people are around the world, appreciating a laugh, a good meal, and a pleasant nap. My first around the world trek began in 1994, by train, my second in 1999 (around the world1999), by old Land Rover, and now my third in 2003-4.
I find that people are often frightened of the fact that they donít speak another language and that prevents them from traveling. Although I think it is important to learn as much of the local language as possible (it is the most important way of conveying the fact you respect wherever you are), but do not use it as an excuse prevent you from traveling.
When I was in China for the first time, my buddy and I were looking for a quick meal. As we walked into a restaurant the staff gave us an interesting look. They were all trying to figure out who would have to go over and take our order. Finally after drawing lots a waitress sheepishly came over. I wanted chicken, so when she was ready to take my order I flapped my arms and clucked like a chicken. A smile radiated from her face as she wrote down my order. Later I heard her recounting the story to the cook, clucking and all. I heard them all laugh, and yes indeed I got my chicken dinner.
I have studied everything from bugs, to trees, to history, to music. I have had jobs in music, construction, computers, and agriculture. I love the challenge, and my curiosity propels me through life. Ask me a question, I will do my best to give you an answer!
"One of the gladdest moments of human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of many cares and the slavery of home, man feels once more happy." -- Sir Richard Burton