Hi from Rick: Simple Fulfillment
As you travel, you'll meet people who proudly make crepes as though they invented them...and will happily make them that way all their lives. Being poured a glass of wine by a vintner whose family name has been on the bottle for 200 years, you feel the glow of a person fulfilled. Sitting high above the congregation with an organist whose name is the latest on a three centuries-long list of musicians who've powered that cathedral with music, you know you're in the presence of an artist who's found his loft.
|Rick plays backgammon with his Turkish friends.|
On the border of Iraq a few years ago, I received an unforgettable lesson in human fulfillment. A weather-beaten old Kurd held his chisel high in the sky. The world was brown and blue: his face, his robe, the parched earth, and the sky. The chisel's blade gleamed as he declared, "A man and his chisel...the greatest factory on earth." He was the region's much-loved carver of prayer niches for village mosques. The pride of a simple man, carving for the glory of God, was inspirational. When I asked the price of a piece he'd carved, he simply gave it to me. For a man his age, he explained, knowing his work would be enjoyed in America was payment enough.
I find fulfillment through travel. Flying halfway around the globe to better understand another culture is the people-loving equivalent of a nature-lover hugging a tree. On the road, life is vivid. (After a three-week trip, I can recall every meal.) When I'm in Europe, I bolt out of bed, breathe deep, live a month in every day, make more friends, and fly home energized...fulfilled.
Apparently many of our readers feel the same. Our expanded 2004 tour program is hot. Our newest guidebook -- Provence & the French Riviera -- is already a bestseller. And our online Travel Store is wrapping up its best year yet. To help kick-start your own travel fulfillment -- and make your holiday gift giving fun and easy -- we're offering generous discounts on travel bags, special "gift packs," and more.
In this month's Travel News, we'll share what's new in France and Britain, yell a chilly giddy-up to sled dogs in arctic Norway, and (with the help of the Boston Globe) answer some dandy questions about smart travel in the coming year.