By Bruce Shelley   

Some years ago at another game studio, part of my work was to go on public relations tours to distant cities and countries, meeting with the press, and making presentations about a new game soon to launch. For many of my colleagues, such an assignment was a horror they were glad to avoid. At one meeting they jokingly proposed sending me to Greenland. There was no business case for such a trip, of course, but I was ready to go, nevertheless. Make it so, was my response. I had discovered that I liked to travel.

For most of my life, vacation travel meant visiting distant relatives in the United States and Canada. By my early 40’s, however, I had honeymooned in London, and my wife’s work had taken us to Hawaii and Hong Kong. Then we went on a cruise to Alaska, and then the PR tours cranked up. Now, while our health is still good, we go somewhere almost every year. It might be an ocean cruise, or river cruise, or National Geographic tour, or something we plan ourselves.

On one of our earliest trips, to Hong Kong before it returned to Chinese control, I had the idea of buying a badge to mark the trip. I found no local badge in any shop, but at the Peak Tram to Victoria’s Peak, the conductors sold me one of their shoulder badges. Since then I have been buying small cloth badges when I can. I started placing them on a cork board in my home office and this is what it looks like today.

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I occasionally replace badges I prefer and have enough to fill a second board if I wanted. Here is my bag of extras. Some of the more interesting places I have been are not represented because no badge could be found. That was the case in Cairo and other cities in Egypt, and in several Asian countries.

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I can look up at the board over my computer monitor and skim over the badges. Each one has a story attached—when we were there, who we were traveling with, what we saw.

Over the years I have heard several quotes about travel that have stuck with me. The first is from Saint Augustine: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” Another comes from J.R.R.Tolkien: “Not all who wander are lost.” And one anonymous quote: “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

“Oh, The Places You’ll Go” is the title of a Dr. Seuss book, the last published in his lifetime, that my wife gives to family and friends when they graduate from high school. It’s a simple book about the journeys and challenges of life. When I look up at my cork board think not only of the places I have been but of where we might go next.