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 LIFE + TRAVEL

Don S. Overend, M.D.

Published previously in The Greene County Medical Society Journal

 

Another birthday! So please allow me a moment to think back about my life and what 50 plus years of travel means to me. I am overwhelmed at how much travel has enriched my years. It’s not just about the places I’ve been but also about the people I’ve met, the cultures I’ve experienced, the modes of transportation and the wonderful variety of art and architecture world-wide.

St. Augustine wrote, "The world is a book and he who does not travel reads but one page". I firmly believe this. And I look at future travels as part of my continuing education. You’ll note that I didn’t say continuing medical education because I also believe that a well-rounded physician studies more than medicine.

I look about our home and see many souvenirs from around the world. There is a Persian rug from Egypt and another from India. A woman in the Iban tribe created a beautifully woven basket. The Iban were formerly the headhunters of Borneo. On one wall is a pen sketch of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and on another a carved wooden Santos from Mexico. In the kitchen there is a wine pitcher from one of our favorite restaurants in Rome. Each of these and many other items represent a part of a culture we experienced and brought home to live with us.

On my computer hard drive are literally thousands of photos from parts of the world we have visited and, from pre-digital-photo times, file boxes and albums of photos recording more places and times. These help refresh our memory and give life back to our memories.

We cherish the presence of the many friends we’ve made while traveling. We may have met them in an airport, on a motorcoach while traveling with a group, at the bar on a cruise ship or strolling in the plaza of some wonderful city. Some of these friendships have faded away with time or have been interrupted by death, others we continue to converse with by Email and once, in a happy while, to enjoy again in person.

We’re also grateful for our local friends that we travel with from time to time. Traveling friends are very special. They need to be easy to get along with, to be able to roll with the punches when travel glitches arise. They need to be game for any adventure, love to try new things, and they need to be cheerful and uncomplaining. We’ve been fortunate to find such friends we enjoy traveling with and to share the world with them. And beyond this, sharing the delights of travel has strengthened the many years of our marriage. As an aside, it’s obvious we love to travel but we also love to return to Springfield and The Ozarks.

Finally, travel allows us to see the changes that time has brought to our world. We have witnessed first hand the tremendous change that China has experienced in the last 25 years. We knew Yugoslavia as a single country and now know the States it has become. We’re amazed with the stability of Egypt through several rulers. Rome thankfully, never changes and we’re always glad to go back to familiar sites. We’re distressed by the recent bombings in Mumbai and hope to return to the hospitality of the Taj Hotel and to very hospitable India. We delight in the success of Estonia and it’s rise to a full-fledged economic power. When beautiful, historic Dubrovnik was bombed we thought, "you’ve been there", and could understand the anguish of the damage. We hope to be around long enough to see some of the other changes that are sure to come.

Life is a wonderful trip! May you too be fortunate enough, in later years, to look back and think, "I’m glad I traveled!"

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