I have always regarded travel as a chance to learn about myself by seeing the reflection of who I am through the eyes of strangers. So, for me this has been a time of self-awareness. And, also a time to see what it means to be an American at this particular moment of history.
I was granted the opportunity of a lifetime — A Life Time — to travel with a dozen other journalists from this country and visit five cities in three countries. You know how sometimes you have a moment, that only upon reflection do you realize was one of the best times of your life? This trip, in the spring of 2014, to Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic screamed at me, while I was in it: this is it! This is a time you will never forget!!
We were a diverse group – by age (20’s to 60’s), market (Seattle to Baton Rouge), race, size (0 to XXXL) and interests (World Cup to T-TIP). From radio and television and government broadcasting. Public to commercial.
We were tasked to ask questions. Some academic (what does Germany think of the proposed funding changes to the Ex-Im Bank of the U.S.?) to huh? questions (why did you take our cell phones at security?).
Our interests were varied, as you might expect from such a diverse group. We were all there to learn – in our own way — as it should have been, really.
I will be reflecting on what I learned on this journalist exchange with the RIAS Berlin Commission for a long time. A very long time. A Life Time.