Coming Friday, a good friend at work is leaving to prepare for a 5-month trip through South America. (See their blog.) While it is not-so-nice to see him go (this guy is a magician with map systems), I fully support their decision to do this. In fact, I'm quite excited about this, and Dave, I wish you and Mel all of the best for your adventure!
This leads me to the whole idea of traveling the world. I think it's an amazing thing for people to do, especially for young people. Your whole outlook on the world broadens so much when you get direct contact with other cultures and realize that the ways of your own culture aren't the only ways to do things. Dave told me about an uncle who took his 15-yr old daughter out of school for a year and home-schooled her while the two of them traveled around the world. That's an education no school can give!
About 15 years ago, Esme and I traveled through a big part of western Europe for 6 weeks. That wasn't near enough time to really get to know all the countries we visited, but to this day that trip stands out as one of the best in our lives.
Bon voyage, Dave and Mel!