World Citizens: Travel Bravely, Travel Safely

A winner of the 2005 Webby Award for activism, this on-line guide is designed to raise awareness of travelers, especially young Americans.

It has a wonderful Flash interface and a downloadable PDF version.

Among the contents, a list of 25 simple suggestions to make travel safer, more interesting and more authentic. Also included is an information graphic depicting the demographic makeup of the world if we shrank the earth’s population to a “global village” of only 100 people and kept all the existing human ratios.

[Thanks to Leah Silverman for the link.]

The World Citizens Guide

25 Simple Suggestions:

1. Look. Listen. Learn.
2. Smile. Genuinely.
3. Think big. Act small. Be humble.
4. Live, eat and play local.
5. Be patient.
6. Celebrate our diversity.
7. Become a student again.
8. Try the language.
9. Refrain from lecturing.
10. Dialogue instead of monolougue.
11. Use your hands. Watch your feet.
12. Leave the clicjes at home.
13. Be proud, not arrogant.
14. Keep religion private.
15. Be quiet.
16. Check the atlas.
17. Agree to disagree respectfully.
18. Talk about something besides politics.
19. Be safety conscious, not fearful.
20. Dress for respect.
21. Know some global sports trivia.
22. Keep your word.
23. Show your best side.
24. Be a traveler, not a tourist.
25. Have a wonderful trip!The guide also has tons of pertinent links to help travelers identify embassies in different countries, seek health advisories from the Center for Disease Control, including vaccines, travel insurance, customs, study abroad programs and more.

Almost 15 years ago, I set out with two friends to backpack across Europe. This led to a five year stint on the road, hitchhiking and catching trains as far East as the Crimean coast and Moscow, and back again across Western Europe to England. It was the early 1990's and a time of tremendous openness.

Now young travelers are looking over their shoulders. Nervous. Knowing that being American, being "western" makes them a target.

In Young travelers face potential dangers outside U.S. by Kimberly Durnan and April Kinser appearing June 14 in The Dallas Morning News, the article admonishes:

"[When] young people and other travelers go abroad, their safety is not something parents or even the U.S. government can guarantee. Following the recent disappearance in Aruba of an 18-year-old from Alabama, law enforcement officials, schools and travel agents are warning parents and their children to follow some basic steps that can increase the odds of a safe trip abroad."

Anxiety about allowing young people to travel abraod is high. Understandably so. Family and friends are still frantically searching for Natalee Holloway, who was in Aruba with classmates to celebrate high school graduation when she disappeared May 30 after a night out at a popular bar. It is a terrifying scenario, one that strikes fear in the heart of every parent watching their child venture out into the world.

However, if it is a choice of whether to travel or not, I'd say YES! Especially if one can committ to a year or more. That year will resonate for the rest of your life and define your personality into the future.

I was very fortunate to have traveling grandparents on both side; my grandmother's last trip was to China when she was 80 years old. My father lived and worked in Asia and Africa for seven years, and my very American mother chose to give birth to her first child (me) in East Africa.

Special hellos go out to friends of the Studio who are world travelers, especially Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar Tereneh Mosley in Kenya (above) and Peace Corps Volunteer Jacquelyn Jancius in Romania.