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Part 1
Know Thyself

1) Why Travel -- Goals, purposes, hopes, dreams, ideas.

2) The First Lesson of Traveling Well -- You can't see it all.

3) How to Travel: Traditional Approaches -- Immersion, Home Basing, City Hopping.

4) Threading: A New Approach and Philosophy -- A detailed look at a great way to go.

5) The Walking Threader -- There's no better way to locomote a sensing mind.

6) Road to Discovery -- It's what you're looking for.

The Philosophy pages match the chapter names in the Part 1 of The World Awaits. Excerpts from the text are featured, as are fresh observations, links, and input from other travelers.


"As often and for as long as possible, I wander the Earth in search of experience. I'll go anywhere and everywhere; the world is my ever-surprising oyster. I love everything about travel -- from anticipation and planning to watching slides with friends. In the past, I traveled because I thought I should. Now I do it because I do it. It is my nature. I desire the experiences that only the road can offer."
Paul Otteson / The World Awaits / Chapter 2 / Avalon Travel Publishing -- All Rights Reserved

There is more to travel than destinations, transportation, and activities. There are wise and wonderful ways of knitting those three together into a journey -- into a personally fulfilling and revealing adventure that is rich and rewarding, as well as safe, economical and efficient. There is an art to traveling well -- an art that can be learned, though only partly in advance. Most of the lessons of the road must be discovered one step at a time.

I took my first major international journey after being burned out of house and home by the Oakland Hills Fire of 1991. The fire had a special impact on me. I found myself wonderfully freed of both materials and responsibilities. I was suddenly willing to take a year off to 'see the world', fulfilling a long held dream.

But I wasn't without doubts. It seemed risky from a few perspectives to just jump ship, leaving the patterns of work and security I was developing. It was this concern, in part, that led me to write The World Awaits. The book began in concept as a deliberate attempt to make something of my time away, so it wouldn't be 'wasted'. More than that, however, I was old enough to anticipate how rare such unfettered travel could be. I knew that many of the experiences I'd have would eventually be remembered as first-, last-, or once-in-a-lifetime episodes, and perhaps all three. I set out desiring to get the most for my time and money -- to learn the planet and engage it fully.

So it was that I discovered much about what it means to travel well. I learned that formulas should be forgotten, planning should be open to alternatives, and my pack should be as light as possible. I learned that guidebooks are crutches in the best and worst senses of the word. I learned that the world was not designed by Disney, nor by travel agents or photo editors, and that travelers must deal with plenty that is mundane, tedious, or boring. I learned that humans are more interesting than architecture and natural wonders, that it's easy to be an idiot when I'm off my home turf, and that the simplest needs really are the most important.

I learned that people are basically good and caring, and that they will help you, more often than not, anywhere on Earth.

I learned that the tapestry of nature and culture that drapes this orbiting rock of ours is vastly more wondrous than can be imagined ... so much so that my eyes tear up when I think about it for awhile.

I learned what it means to be truly at ease -- to be relaxed bone deep, to breathe, to be one with self and environment.

I learned freedom.

I learned me.

Read The World Awaits and explore the page links listed above to gear up your mind for your own journey. Happy Travels!

Paul Otteson