When the theme of exploration was suggested for this edition of the Pan Historian I was quite excited. Ever since I was old enough to earn enough money for a plane ticket I've been something of a travelaholic. My first journey was to Europe for purposes of study which I somehow managed to turn into a 'grand tour' of art, architecture, culture and language. My second journey took me to the United States where not only did I find time to wander around admiring the fabulous natural beauty on show but to meet new friends and old and wander a little way off the well beaten tourist track. My third trip off shore was to India where I travelled from north to south in the space of a month, climbed a mountain, ran from the rain, tried on saris talked all night to strangers on trains and ate some of the most fantastic curries.
Chances are I could have done all of those things at home - in the modern world and in a developed country like the one that I live in my neighbours are european, american and asian. There are language schools and art galleries to explore in my own neighbourhood. I can cook up food from just about anywhere and find the ingredients at my local market. But there is a certain thrill about boarding a plane or a train, perhaps completely alone, perhaps in the company of fellow explorers and heading for places unknown with very little idea about what you will find there. There is a certain bliss standing in a crowd and listening to the voices around you not understanding a single word that is being said but just standing and taking it all in. There is deep pleasure in meeting new people and talking about everything and nothing simply because you come from different places.
For me exploration will always be about journeying some place in the world, for others it might be about space, science, literature or knowledge. I hope you'll enjoy this exploration edition of the Pan Historian and be inspired to do a little exploring of your own.