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May 2006 RVC Column

(Written and posted 4/8/06)

Northwest Passages

RVC Column for May Newsletters in Region 8
by John Recht, Region 8 RVC

This week the April-May issue of the Mensa Bulletin graced my mailbox, and article by article, photo by photo, I was enchanted. I love to travel, and next to going myself, I enjoy reading about the adventures that are to be found yonder. Fortunately for me, I have had ample opportunity to travel in recent years, so I do not feel deprived in the least.

Still, it was slightly weird for me when, earlier today, I wished bon voyage to my 13-year-old daughter Marissa, who is on her way to London for a week-long acting workshop. Josie, my elder daughter (and Oregon Mensa member), is living in Japan for two years while she teaches English to middle school children. So how is it that they have become world travelers and I have scarcely left the States? Yes, I'm a little jealous, but I am also really happy for them. What's more, I'll be making my own voyage later this year, as I'll describe in just a bit.

Although it is true that I have limited travel experience outside the U.S., I have had plenty of adventures over the years as I criss-crossed the continent of my birth. I always loved to explore, and I found Jack Kerouac's On the Road to be both a revelation and an inspiration. One small anecdote: my companion and I were driving back from Alaska in my Chevy Vega in late July, 1972, and after midnight, somewhere around Fort Nelson, B.C., as we drove along we saw shimmering green and yellow curtains, streaks, and pinwheels filling the sky overhead. Filled with wonder at the sight, we pulled over to the side of the road and watched the show, which got even better when, suddenly, the color palette broadened into a full spectrum. During the hour that we sat there, two cars came by, and each time they stopped and asked us if we were okay. We said, enthusiastically, yes, and look up there! They merely glanced up at the spectacular aurora, said something polite, and drove away shaking their heads. I guess even the most glorious sights can lose their luster when you see them every day.

Happily for me, my travel plans this year feature two very exciting destinations, including the World Gathering (WG) in Orlando, FL, on August 8-13, and the British Mensa Annual Gathering (AG) on September 28-October 2. Yes, I will finally get to cross an ocean! But first, I am looking forward to celebrating Mensa's Diamond Anniversary at the WG, with more than 2,000 of my fellow Mensans from all over the world. This will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime event, and it is not to be missed if at all possible. I strongly encourage you to visit the WG Web site at www.wg06.us.mensa.org, and register now, if you have not already done so.

A month after the WG, I will make my first ever trip to England, and once again I will have the chance to celebrate Mensa's Diamond Anniversary, this time at the British Mensa AG. My beloved Linda and I are planning to trot around Derbyshire before we descend upon Nottingham for Mensa's birthday weekend. To find out about the British Mensa AG, visit www.mensa.org.uk/diamond. When we come back from England, I will race back across the U.S to Albany, NY, for Colloquium 2006: Revolution in Cosmology, on October 6-8 (more info at www.colloquium.us.mensa.org). Yes, I'll be on the road, all right. And loving every minute of it! See you at the WG....