About 20 years ago, I was sent on a long-term work assignment in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (mostly in Monroeville, the Westinghouse Corporation Headquarters). Up until then I would occasionally go on business trips to various locations in the US, but never anything more than a week. The Pittsburgh assignment went off and on for 6 months often away from home (Washington State) for two-three weeks at a time. There was never a reason on the previous business trips to explore—really did not have the time. The days were filled with meetings and work until late at night. It was also a convenient excuse to avoid venturing out on my own.
The assignment in Pittsburgh was different. My weekends and most evenings were open. I was not familiar exploring on my own; and honestly, I was a little apprehensive in a big city. That is until my friend, Jan Hawkins, working on the same job confronted me one day about spending too much time reading in my hotel room. Jan is the ultimate adventurer and always open to new experiences. She has traveled the world, much of it solo.
“Come on, Terry, we are headed to Shadyside this Saturday. And next week you are going downtown to experience a potato pizza and visit the fish market.” Jan drove me around Pittsburgh explaining how she explores a new place and how she learns about the locations you want to experience and those you need to avoid. Somehow a light bulb went on as I was enjoying the “culture” of Pittsburgh and listening to Jan describe all the places she has visited. By staying in my comfort zone, I was missing out. Missing a lot.
Since that time, I have been exploring—domestically and internationally. Some times on my own, most often with my husband or a friend. You grow tremendously as person by traveling. You become more tolerant of different customs, you begin to understand that ‘YOUR’ way is not always the best or only way to live.
Thanks, Jan. I think you are a pretty special person. You brought a little magic and knowledge to my life through traveling and walking in someone else’s shoes.