“Maybe all meaningful journeys begin with a mistake. Some kind of transgression or false turn or flawed idea that sets a certain irresistible odyssey in motion.”

Kate Harris, Lands of Lost Borders

Robert Frost took the path not taken. Hannibal tried mountaineering with elephants (which was a mistake). Christopher Columbus set sail looking for India and ended up in the Americas. Leif Erikson explored the American continent 500 years before Columbus. Marco Polo traveled to China and back, opening trade routes between the two countries.

And sometimes, we ignore the GPS just to try an unfamiliar road to our favorite restaurant. Exploration can be a thrilling adventure, full of surprises and discoveries. It is a way to expand our horizons and learn more about the world.

As I’ve written before, we are an exploratory people – driven by curiosity and wonder. I can think of my first trip to Alaska, where I was mesmerized by the beauty and grandeur of the landscape. Just as Roosevelt had been, and Bering, and Cook, and numerous others. The same spirit of exploration that drove those pioneers still lives on today in all of us. We must continue to explore and learn, because each journey brings us closer to understanding ourselves, our world, and our place in it.


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