On the flight from Houston to San Jose for ASTD Tech Knowledge, I once again marveled at how much open space there still is left in this country.

Somewhere Over New Mexico
Somewhere Over New Mexico

A few years ago I went to New Hampshire to do some user testing for SkillSoft. I remember mentioning to a colleague during the flight that I was surprised how much undeveloped land there was. It had an impact on me, as I wondered, and still wonder [1], what percentage of available land in the U.S. has actually been developed. I also noted how little of this country, let alone this planet, I’ve actually experienced in person.

I’ve mostly lived in big cities, but exploration has always been important to me. When I lived in Arizona we used to go camping every month; we could just drive up to the river and start exploring. I learned a lot during those experiences. It was unstructured, unsupervised exploration. I look at these amazing places I’ve flown over or ridden by, and I want to explore all of them. I know I cannot get to everything, but my goal is to explore more, both locally and when I travel (and, hopefully, on a motorcycle).

I hope to bring my kids along as much as possible. I’m reading Last Child in the Woods right now (thanks for the recommendation, Kris). It’s both enlightening and depressing. We all should explore more. Get out into the wild, or the closest thing you have to it, and look, smell, listen, learn. Bring your kids, so the only experiences they have with nature aren’t from The History Channel or Google Earth. Think about the spaces you’ve passed by but never explored. Go back with a new mission. Explore. Play. Learn.

Ask yourself, “what if this is the only time, or the last time, I’ll ever see this place?”.

[1] Apparently, it’s only around 6% (as of 2003).

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