Making travel a window into the past

ATLANTA ( — No matter where I travel, whether near or far, I always try to find a historical site to visit. It helps me understand the places I explore.

It might be a famous landmark such as Ellis Island in New York Harbor or a more off-the-beaten-path museum such as the Museo Criminologico (Crime Museum) in Rome, Italy. Regardless, they bring to life the past.

History books, for example, might indicate there was nothing here before 1492. But, a visit to Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville, Ill., an amazing complex of earthwork mounds, reveals quite the contrary.

The world, and the United States, in particular, has a complicated history. It is both amazing and ugly. It is often repetitive.

The struggles of yesterday are the struggles of today. Because many do not understand — or simply appreciate it — we are, in fact, destined to repeat it.

But, the more I travel, the more I understand how beautifully complex the world is.

For years, I have tried to understand why we travel. Is it to work on a tan, to find the perfect boat drink or to buy more tchotchkes for the curio cabinet?

Maybe it is all of the above. Maybe it should be none of the above.

There is no right answer to traveling, no one-size-fits-all rationale. But, if life is a journey, then we should learn along the way. Step out of the history books and see where battles were once waged, where great civilizations once thrived or where the ideas that remain relevant today were formulated.

Todd DeFeo
About Todd DeFeo 86 Articles
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is the owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and