1,000 places to see on a sabbatical

lifestyle design, Travel Perspectives — By on March 20, 2007 at 8:00 am

First came the book, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Then the Travel Channel decided to base a television series around the concept and selected a Denver couple, Albin and Melanie Ulle, to embark “on a 14-week excursion across 13 countries.” The Ulle’s experiences were filmed for the series, which premieres March 29, according to this story.

The Ulles came back changed by the experience:

When Albin and Melanie Ulle are asked about their favorite places … they talk less about the destinations than the people they met:

  • The maitre d’ in France who proudly wore an American flag on his lapel.
  • The Bhutan citizens who measure “gross national happiness” rather than the gross national product.
  • And a poor black South African woman who single-handedly put four girls through private school during apartheid and later ran for mayor of her township.

Even some of the small lessons affected the way the couple now looks at things:

“There are all these little things that have changed for us,” Melanie says, noting one. “I notice that I don’t want to (do) drive-through coffee anymore. I enjoy drinking coffee, and people all over the world treat it as a ritual. I know its so minor, so dumb, but that means something.”

Albin adds: “We’re so rushed a lot of the time, and I think we all kind of know that, but to see people actually slow down, sit and talk and laugh. Good things can come from slowing down sometimes.”

The story notes that experiences such as these are part of a growing trend for people to take sabbaticals to travel or have other life experiences. And if you follow my blog, you know I’m a believer in that.

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