“Better to see something once, than hear about it a thousand times.” - Asian Proverb

There are those of us that love to read and we can travel far and experience much through our vivid imagination.

There are those of us that love movies, and we have had all kinds of adventures through the eyes of characters as they take us to exotic locations.

But there are those of us who can’t be satisfied until we put our own eyes on the thing.

Until we go through it for ourselves, we can’t be happy just hearing about it, or reading or watching someone else doing it. We are the dreamers. We are the adventurers, we are the travelers.

I can recall learning about Lewis and Clark in elementary school social studies. I can guess that while we read from our textbooks about their quest to find a water route to the west to improve trading, I probably glazed over.

When the our teacher told us about the 1805 Expedition, I imagine that my imagination spent more time thinking about Sacagawea, the young Indian guide that led the group and saved their skins on more than one occasion. I’ll bet we played Lewis and Clark at recess, and I’ll double my bet that I volunteered to be the Indian guide. Follow me.

Fast forward a bunch of years, and this Indian had the chance to lead a Good to Go group to explore the Columbia and Snake River areas where most cities are named for Lewis and Clark.

As we cruised down the rivers on a steamboat paddle wheel much like those of the bygone era, we could see with our own eyes what that party of explorers saw. We had the luxury of maps and a River Historian, a Riverlorian, to give commentary on our travels.

But there is something about watching the horizon and wondering what might be around the next bend in the river. We are surprised when a range of mountains loom in the distance, and we can’t help but think, “How does this river go over those mountains?”

We have been afforded the safety of a system of dams and locks that keep our boat moving. But when the ship is being lowered a distance of what appears to be double our height, I can only think what the rapids or waterfall must have looked like in that spot before the engineers made it modern-day navigable.

We are entertained by Indians from local tribes that tell their people’s history in the form of stories. We visit museums that display historical photos, and artifacts of the early 1800’s.

There are the journals, diaries and lists of supplies that are needed to make the trip. The lines from my grade school textbook totally fade as seeing the places, and the things make a fresh, bolder impression.

We talk about our experience with fellow travelers. Knowing and understanding this history becomes important. We are a testimony that it is better to see something once, than just to hear about it.

Making history come alive is just one of the many reasons to travel.

Patti Beth Anderson has more than 20 years of experience in the group travel industry taking people all over the world. Her motto is "I return with the same number of people I left with… not necessarily the same people, but the same number nevertheless. So no 'crankpots' allowed" She may be reached at 918-786-3318 or pb@goodtogowithpb.com.