The Travel Ban

There has been a lot talk about travelling recently. Whether the discussion is positive or negative depends on circumstances and individual perspective. For instance, spring break is starting for many schools across the country. This is a time when families and college students embark on journeys and make some memories. Whether it’s a family vacation or a bunch of young adults looking to party, the destination is often determined by how strong their monetary situation is.

Your travel destinations are also limited by travel documents. Do you have a passport? If not then as an American, you are clearly limited to domestic travel. That’s not necessarily a negative, since there are many beautiful places to see across our nation but it does mean the scope of your options is not as broad as it would be with a passport. My family and I did not have passports when I was a kid. I have some wonderful memories of travelling as a child with my parents and I believe I have created some wonderful memories using travel, as an adult, with my own wife and children.

There is however, a different type of travelling I have attempted to instill in my children and it’s one of the most important things I think can be passed down, so that even my grandchildren can benefit from it. It’s involves making sure the passport of your mind is continually up to date and stamped.

Albert Einstein once said that “Imagination is More Important than Knowledge”. We live in a society where we have so much information at our disposal that we experience information overload. I am not an old man, I am in my mid-forties but “back in my day”, I had to open an encyclopedia or go to a library. I then had to take notes on the information I wanted and process it in a way, so when I talked or wrote about it, I did not sound like I was quoting an encyclopedia. The easy and fast access we have to information today is both great and terrible. It’s great because with the ability to confirm a fact, we don’t have to wonder about the validity of certain “trivial” information. It is also terrible because the act of learning a fact is not the same thing as having a thought. I don’t know if it was purposeful or not but we have stifled the thought processes of our country and therefore dulled the idea of imagination.

Our founding fathers were dreamers, they had the foresight and imagination to see beyond where they were and begin construction on a nation that would out live themselves. America has many issues and we are a nation that may always deal with some growing pains. While our current society does not reflect the specific thinking of the writers of the Declaration of Independence at that time, I believe you can make the argument that we reflect their vision.

As children, we are sometimes temporarily limited by the imagination of the adults that are around us. Whether it’s our parents, grandparents, other family influences or maybe a teacher, they can only guide us as far as their imaginations will allow. However, as adults, we are truly limited only by our own imaginations. Conquering a challenge is rarely easy, otherwise it wouldn’t be called a challenge. The interesting part about all challenges is they have four general solutions. One, figure out how to go through it. Two, figure out how to go over it. Three, figure out how to go around it. Four, set up camp where you are and never move forward. How many of us time and again take option number four and then rationalize it with phrases like, “I guess it wasnt’ meant for me”, “it wasn’t in God’s will”, “I guess the timing wasn’t right”. None of these responses are necessarily wrong but maybe all that was needed was a little more imagination.

Given the unfortunate lack of imagination overall, a national travel ban was an easy sell. Why? Most Americans don’t see beyond their personal circumstances and furthermore don’t want to. We lack the imagination to travel beyond the imaginary borders that we set up for ourselves. What makes that way of thinking worse is that we control the passport of our lives. Why would we disapprove of a travel ban for others when we are often too frightened to stamp our internal passport called Imagination?


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