Wednesday, November 5, 2008

BRETT BATTLES - Travel, Work and Politics

1. Can you describe a favorite travel memory? It doesn’t have to be extraordinary - simple is good, too – but what is a memory of some travel experience that you treasure?

I love to travel. I’ve spent nearly two years of my life, all totaled, outside of the USA. It would be so hard to pick a single memory. Crossing the Arctic Circle in northern Finland? Going to a beer garden party in Germany? Standing in front of the statue of David in Florence?

This past week I just returned from 10 days in London and Paris where I went with my girlfriend Kelly. That was a marvelous trip I won’t soon forget.

But at the moment, if I had to name one, and this is actually pretty damn obvious, it was walking into a rundown, second floor nursery in an orphanage in Can Tho, Vietnam, and picking my daughter up out of the crib that had been her bed for months and holding her for the first time.

2. What is something you’ve learned from traveling - a lesson that you’ve tried to carry with you in the rest of your life?

That not only is everyone different, but we are all the same, too. We want to be happy. We want to love. We want to live our lives. So treating everyone with respect is so important.

3. I’ve been doing a bit of reading about work and careers lately, and came across this quote: “Jump, and a net will appear.” What does that say to you, if anything, and does it apply in any way to your own life?

It says that sometimes you’ve just got to take the opportunity and go for it. Kind of like what I did in September…I decided that my writing career was going well enough that I could quit my day job and trying writing full time for a while. There is no guarantee that I’ll be able to keep it up forever, but I needed to try. And so I am.

4. Here is another quote about work and life choices that I recently discovered: “I must simplify my life, and whittle down what I do to the things that I am absolutely the most passionate about, or else I risk being stuck in mediocrity.” Similarly, what does that say to you, if anything, and does it apply to your own life?

Yes and no…see, as a writer I think it’s important to have my hand in a lot of different things. Jack-of-all-trades kind of thing. I’m just interested in so many different things, that to give one up seems a waste. And, ultimately, I end up using a lot of them in my work. And since writing is what I am MOST passionate about, it all works out.

5. The U.S presidential election is on Tuesday. By the time you have to answer this question, we’ll know the outcome of the vote. How do you think the result of this election affects how the world views the U.S.? (Or, if you prefer, how you personally view the U.S., or how the U.S. might view itself?)

I honestly thought before this election, and still think now that it is over, that Barack Obama was the only candidate that could drastically change the view of America in the world. To me that was one of the main reasons I voted for him. Because, though many Americans don’t think this way, I believe that the world is too small to think only about ourselves. We are citizens of the world first, and how we treat each other, how we respect each other, how we listen to each other is so very important. I think Obama was the only choice – even as far back as the primaries – who could bring credibility to America’s effort to embrace the rest of the world. Now it remains to be seen if he actually does.

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