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Lisa Ellen Niver Headshot

40 Years Later: My Best Trip Ever with My Mom

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After traveling to six continents and joining the Traveler's Century Club for those who have been to over one hundred countries, I am often asked, "Where is your favorite place?" We recently hosted a travel writing contest with over sixty writers sharing, "Inspiration-A Place You Love." Reading all the incredible entries from Alaska to Liverpool, from Mombasa to Vienna, I began to think about which places I love. During my travels with my husband, George, we have scuba dived in Sipadan, seen unbelieveable UNESCO sites all over Asia like Angkor Wat, the Xi'an Warriors, Borobudur, and the Sun Temple and gotten engaged underwater in Koh Lipe. Together, we have made so many of our travel dreams come true.

However, one of the biggest adventures of my entire life was learning to read and constantly getting lost in great adventures. I remember one summer when I was about 6 or 7 years old and my mom and I went to the library on Moorpark Street every Wednesday. I was allowed to bring home ten books; I felt so rich walking out of that building holding ten new "friends." There was a contest with badges and prizes to encourage kids to read. I could not believe it -- books and prizes! This was amazing. I could learn, discover and be rewarded for reading my favorite pasttime. I was in!

As Seth Godin says in Poke the Box, "What differentiates us from every other creature is that we go places, places we've not gone before. We do it willingly and often. What makes our work and our life interesting is discovery, surprise and the risk of exploration."

As a child the Librarians knew me, I guess I was a networker even then. As an adult, the librarians at my local branch still know me my name. I am a library evangelist. It has happened to me several times that a friend will call and say, "I know you will be so proud of me, I got a library card." I was even on television recently in Japan about using library books on electronic readers. Before I ever leave home on a trip, I always get new books. To me my kindle is as important as bringing my passport and plane tickets! I cannot leave home without it.

Remember what Albert Einstein said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowlege is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

My lifelong passion for reading, learning and preparing for the next great adventure began with my Mom reading to me and taking me to the library. Thanks, Mom, for setting me on the path to discovery and supporting my unquenchable thirst for new books. Happy Birthday!

About the Author: Lisa Niver Rajna was recently on National Television as a science teacher on the show Career Day. She is a 2012 nominee for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and a member of the Traveler's Century Club for travelers who have been to over one hundred countries. She and George are spending a sabbatical year in Asia. Follow their travels at We Said Go Travel, on Twitter and on Facebook.