I was envious of those who got to do a semester abroad. I always wanted to go to "study" in Australia with the koala bears and the kangaroos. I want to see the frescoes in Tuscany and the temples in Kyoto. I have always been intrigued by the culture and the people of India and it would be otherworldly to see the Taj Mahal in person. It would be a dream to take my daughter on an African safari to see her favorite animal the elephant. And I was fascinated when we had foreign exchange students who traveled halfway around the world to live and study and play in my small hometown.
I have my online friends over in Europe (hello, friends!) who can hop on a train, or a boat and be in another country in a matter of hours the way I would travel to another state. And although the United States is all one country, I would argue that each state feels distinctly different, almost as if traveling to a foreign land sometimes. But other times it has been surprisingly similar. I harbor a secret goal of one day visiting all the 50 states. So far I have been to less than half of them. That is something I really should change.
I am a travel wannabe. I want to have the matching luggage and confidence of navigating airports and train stations. I want to be the target audience for catalogs like TravelSmith. I can read about the travels of others like Ali Watters on www.travelblog.org/. But time and money are often an issue. Only 30 percent of Americans hold current passports in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of State. I would be in the majority on this statistic.
The closest country to me is Canada and I would love to travel there someday. I have been to Mexico for that Spring Break fling back in 1987. My parents took us to the Bahamas and I honeymooned in Jamaica. But I have truly never traveled and that makes me a bit sad. But I love that I can hop on the internet and be someplace new in a matter of minutes, whether it is investigating my dream vacation destination or read about the travels of others.
Right now the Olympics is in full swing in London. It is always thrilling to watch the Olympics unfold, learn about the host country and see the spirit of Olympism unite us all no matter where we call home. I wasn't able to watch the opening ceremonies, but that is my favorite part. I love the pageantry and the spectacle of that event, and I hear that it was a splendid treat. One of my favorite parts is when the athletes from each country get to walk into the stadium in their smart dress uniforms with the flag bearers. The overwhelming sense of pride of nation is so evident. That has always been an inspiration to me. And it always made me want to learn more about all these nations that I may have never heard of before.
|The flag of the International Olympics Committee was designed in 1912, |
adopted in June 1914 and debuted at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics (source: Wikipedia.)
The flag of the Olympics is iconic with its six colors: five rings in blue, yellow, black, green and red on a white field. These rings represent the "union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world." Interestingly, every flag of the 205 countries participating in the 300 events at this years' Olympics games can be found in those colors. There are five main regions that the rings represent: Africa, the Americas (North and South America are combined), Asia, Europe and Oceania.
The Olympics are all about nationalism and pride of place, but they are also the perfect gateway into understanding and embracing the uniqueness of each people and land. A perfect celebration of all that makes this world a wonderful place.
Travel Is More Fun With Friends
Last year at the end of the Challenge of Color, I asked if there were any suggestions people would like to see for future challenges. I like a challenge that can be accessible to anyone, anywhere no matter their skill or chosen medium. I got a lot of great suggestions but one kept rising to the top for me.
My friend Marcie Abney of La Bella Joya has always been an inspiration to me. She has posted challenges on her blog showcasing architecture or art with interesting color palettes in something she calls Margie & Me based off a book by Margie Deeb called The Beaders' Color Palette. I love watching how those personal challenges of hers unfold and what others who are inspired contribute as well. I know that she loves a challenge and she makes the most beautiful jewelry with tiny seed beads. She is a marvel. You can get her tutorials in her Etsy site, and you should see the cool designs that she has has published in the new book Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry.
It was Miss Marcie who shared the idea of a travel themed challenge. I am pleased to be collaborating with Miss Marcie on this challenge as we travel the world.