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Friday, January 3, 2014

Travel Plans

by Bradly Baird:

While employed at the University of Utah, I worked directly with the academic faculty in a department that shall remain nameless (all but one of who were LDS and none were from Utah). This was an enjoyable group of people to work with. All them were highly intelligent, engaging, curious about the world, and all committed to the development of the student body. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and loved listening to and learning from each of them.

However, I discovered that many of them maintained a strange stereotype about members of the Church from Utah. They viewed us a provincial, backwards, and - most surprisingly - thought that members from Utah know or care very little about the world outside of the state; and will even discount the time members spend on full-time missions throughout the world, claiming that because missionaries are somewhat removed from the world, they do not gain real experience or knowledge of the world.

I am not really sure why I started thinking about all of this; but these memories resulted in thoughts of my own personal travels, especially future travel plans. In the short term, these plans include only trips within the United States to places like Los Angeles, Denver, San Francisco and Miami.

Once the children are a little older and we aren't chasing them across the country to cheer and taekwondo competitions, the plans will expand to include many more foreign destinations, including: Cape Town, South Africa; Alexandria, Egypt; Corfu, Greece; Panama City, Panama; Vatican City; Broome, Australia; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Reykjavik, Iceland; Martinique; and Tel Aviv, Israel.

I mention all of this because I am curious about travel plans of others in the faith, and where your interests lie. Once you have the money and time (both of which are hard to come by these days), which parts of the world will you take your family to see? Which countries and cultures do you wish to add to your arsenal of experience? Will you travel to see a place or will you travel to experience an event or happening? Will your travels focus on LDS-related sites or will you leave Temple Square behind in favor of Mount Scopus and Yad Vashem?

To inspire you and get you thinking about the delights of travel, may I recommend a couple of books to read? Pick up Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer, follow that up with On the Road by Jack Kerouac, and conclude your mental journey with My Journey to Lhasa by Alexandra David-Neel. And while you are at it, grab a DVD copy of The Way, starring Martin Sheen.
"You don't choose a life. You live one." 
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Bradly Allen Baird is the father of two amazing children and has been married for almost twenty years. He served a mission in Finland, though he was really supposed to serve in Uruguay. His professional meanderings include everything from education to economic development, to human capital management in the IT industry (hopefully this one sticks); and spends his Saturdays hanging out with the missionaries in Provo, or racing back and forth between his children's activities in tae kwon do and elite cheerleading. Bradly also survived an MBA program; developed a somewhat limited interest in music, theater, film, urban planning, judaica, liberation theology, politics, israel, and latin american history; studies the influence of graphic imagery on public space; wrote a thesis about Leonard Bernstein, is obsessed with the American Symphonists, and reads publications like The Tablet and the Jewish Daily Forward.
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