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Why We Travel #2: To Appreciate History

Europe

Part 2 of 5, this clip celebrates how, as travelers, we deepen our understanding of history, gain context and perspective…and become wiser.

Complete Video Script

As travelers, we learn. Deepening our understanding of history, art, and culture, we better appreciate those who came before us. And it helps us to better prepare for and contribute to what's next. Gaining context and perspective, we become wiser.

Wherever we travel, we see reminders of our collective past. History speaks; travelers listen, and we learn. We appreciate the long march of human progress. Great civilizations arc: They rise, they peak, and they fall.

We're inspired by their achievements — the ancient foundations of our own society. Prehistoric pagans — mysteries still held in their megalithic wonders; the Egyptians with the extravagance of their art and the immensity of their architecture; the Greeks, whose magnificent temples and passion for bringing gods to earth established what became a standard for beauty; and the Romans, whose empire taught the West how to organize society — [and] to engineer, inspiring those who followed to build big and dream bigger.

Travelers trace the progress out of ancient times through the ages as if enjoying an epic play. Fear and feudalism, pillage and plagues, sacred monarchs, profane popes. We witness the birth of our modern age: the Age of Enlightenment — that spark that lit the Age of Revolution; then, with the rise of the masses, the fall of kings.

History teaches us that evil also plays a role in the human story; that the struggle for justice, for liberty, for democracy has always been expensive. Horrific wars — so many dead. We mourn the losses, we celebrate the victories, we honor the cost of freedom.

Travelers learn to appreciate the past as if they actually lived it. We marvel at glitter and gilding — dazzled as if duped by a king's propaganda. We gape through a dome as if it actually does connect mortals with the gods, and we gaze at the divine like an illiterate peasant filled with fear and faith.

As travelers, we learn. Deepening our understanding of history, art, and culture, we better appreciate those who came before us. And it helps us to better prepare for and contribute to what's next. Gaining context and perspective, we become wiser.