Staff Question - Travel and Awe

Where have you traveled to recently that inspired a sense of awe and wonder in you?

I traveled to Norway last May and the natural beauty was spectacular. One day, we took a wildlife safari boat ride through the choppy Atlantic. After seeing groups of seals bathing on rocks and clusters of birds flying up over green cliffs, we finally ended up in the Hjorundfjord. The water was suddenly calm and all around us were massive snow-capped peaks, green rolling hills, and red farmhouses tucked away on the shore. When we finally pulled up to our hotel—a century-old building that looked like a castle—right at the edge of the fjord, I felt like I was in my very own fairy tale.

- Paige Smith


In March, I visited the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado. The canyon has near-vertical cliffs that dive jaggedly more than 2000 feet into the earth. As the sun began to set, I stood at the edge of Warner Point overlooking the canyon. As I turned my back to the canyon, the valley sprawled out in the golden light of the sun nestled at the foot of the San Juan Mountains. Pockets of cumulus clouds dipped down, releasing segments of rain. A few swallows flew below. It was at that moment I realized, “I am standing higher than birds are flying.” Nothing beats that view.

- Jeromy Slaby


Last November, I took a helicopter ride to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. I had just completed four days of the Everest Base Camp trek, and my group wasn’t continuing on to do the whole trek because of time constraints, so we were choppered around Base Camp instead. I was with a group of writers, but the only way any of us could describe the experience was ‘It feels like I’m in an Imax movie!’ The brain doesn’t seem to have a way of processing and fully understanding such an awe-inspiring scene that is, in many ways, such an unnatural thing for a human to be doing: flying at over 5000 meters, around the highest mountains in the world.

- Elen Turner


Two days ago I was sitting in an air conditioned office in Boston, and today I am watching traffic zoom by in a dusty sunset in Lagos, Nigeria. I’m in total awe that we live in a world where we can jump on a plane, switch hemispheres, and experience a whole different way of life. It amazes me every time.

- Rachel Rueckert


Yesterday I spent the day in the Peak District in England for my girlfriend’s birthday. The wide valleys; the old stone walls cutting through them like dark marks; the steep valley; and the caves were all a surprise that waited to be found just around the corner. The bright colors shone under a spring sun—blue, green and grey—increasing the whole effect.

- Richard A. Bruschi


Last month I traveled to the Big Island in Hawaii for the first time. While I was there, I completed my scuba diving certification. Exploring underwater is a surreal experience. It was absolutely amazing to see the variety of colorful fish, learn how the ecosystem works down there, and see old lava tubes. We live our lives day to day above the water, but never stop to think about how life is underneath the sea.

- Marissa Pedersen


My most recent moment of awe and wonder happened six miles from my home. My dog and I stood on a bank of matted grass and gazed upon a river which flowed left, then right. Wild geese glided through a sky filled with morning light and landed in the placid water near my feet. I studied the river, the geese, and my surroundings for a long while, and tried to see beyond the details reflected in my eyes. I adjusted my ball cap and thought, I don’t need to travel to see beauty in the world.

- Ingrid McQuivey


I was recently in Portland, Maine visiting a friend for her birthday; the city excites and awes me. Each visit reinvigorates my soul with the salty sea breeze whipping through my hair, the smell of fresh caught lobsters wafting through the air; Portlanders’ friendly smiles that pass me by; and the sound of boats coming in to dock at the old port. One afternoon I watched the local college sailing team practice out on the open windy waters. It made wonder about the world at sea, what is it like to be on a boat for hours, days, sometimes months, knowing that your movements and decisions determine your fate.  

- Kalindi Naslund