Tried something new the other day. Went to speak at a school.
It was a small independent middle school out on Vashon Island — a short ferry ride from Seattle. They invited me, I said "sure."
Sixty-five students aged 8 to 13. I showed the dancing video, gave a 30-second "Previously on Lost" version of my life story, then answered questions.
Most of the questions were things I’ve had a lot of practice answering:
"Did you make money?"
"Did those jellyfish sting you?"
"How’d you get to Antarctica?"
Others were entirely new to me:
"Who were the weirdest people you met?"
"Did you see any blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos Islands?"
"Were those elephants lefty or righty? Cause you can tell by their tusks!"
The hands kept going up and we talked for the better part of an hour. None of the kids had seen the video before, but they really seemed to dig it. They were sharp and attentive and generally switched-on. I had a whole lot of fun.
I’ve got a fair bit of free time on my hands these days, and I’d love to keep doing this. I’m kinda limited to the Seattle area unless someone else is footing the travel bill. A university out in Vermont has offered to do that next month. It’s a pretty different audience, but I’ll give it a try.
It is my stated conviction that Americans need to travel abroad more — especially young ones. The post-academic wandering years are a rite of passage for folks in places like Europe and Australia, but we tend to just go straight to work and not stick our heads up until retirement. I think that needs to change. Urgently. We need diplomats out there, before things get any worse.
So I’m hoping I can help plant the seed and maybe give some kids ideas about what they want to do with themselves. Who knows what my cogent attempts at brainwashing our nation’s youth may yield.
A lot of folks have asked if there’s anything new in the works. I’ve been fiddling a bit with two projects that involve footage I’ve already shot. Hopefully those will be up in the next couple months.
As far as a new trip goes, I’ve got some ideas and I’d love to do one, but I’m not really pursuing anything yet. Still recuperating and enjoying time at home. Also, I’d need the help of a sponsor. There seems to be interest out there, but I’m a long way from having anything lined-up.