Just Did It
The best part about this job is also the worst: while interviewing and telling the stories of fascinating people who have been to exotic places, you must endure the fact that they've been places and seen things that you haven't and probably never will. That's why, after completing an article like this issue's story about adventurous alumni, I go home and complain to my wife that I'm almost 40 and still haven't seen Tanzania. Which misses the point, really. The point is not how many places you've been but the richness of the experiences you have had. In a way, stories like this one are therapeutic and vicariously enriching.

What makes the story about Colby alumni's adventures particularly interesting is that so many of them go beyond the traditional. These experiences aren't postgraduate flings across Europe, cutting a swath through toney discotheques, or self-initiated exiles on the French Riviera subsidized by an au pair placement. No, these excursions are adventures with a capital A. Climbing mountains in Nepal. Traversing the Indian desert on camel-back. Riding a motorcycle through Vietnam. This is the kind of stuff we read about in National Geographic.

The alumni featured in this story are representative of the best liberal learners. They are masters at adjusting to their environment, experts at sizing up situations and figuring out solutions. They're competent, confident and committed. Their challenges aren't all that much different from those faced in everyday life, but the stakes are higher. Mess up and you could die.

And there's another quality that sets apart the people who get off the well-marked trails in the most remote parts of the world. They always strike me as calmer, more composed, more humble.

I hope the experiences these alumni have enjoyed invoke in you, as they do in me, a sense of wonder and reverence for the breadth of human experience. But don't be alarmed if they also make you want to chuck what you're doing and pack your crampons.


J. Kevin Cool
managing editor, Colby

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