Share Your Passion: Sr. Dir. of Distribution Jonas on Travel

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I guess I can blame my dad. As the son of a commercial airline pilot, I’d already visited such exotic locales as Ireland, the Canary Islands and Aruba by the time I was 5 years old (along with the usual trips to Grandma’s, of course).

Those early days of travel, while mostly wasted on such a young child, seem to have lodged something in the recesses of my mind: an interest in other cultures, other landscapes, other people. I’d been bitten by the travel bug.

As I grew up a bit and our travels continued, I always looked forward to our next trip. Seeing the new currency, attempting to pronounce the local language, trying a new food, learning about the history of a town; there was always so much new information to take in.

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A semester studying abroad in Denmark during college only served to intensify that interest; rather than a fleeting glimpse at a new place, I was able to immerse myself in another culture (despite only passable attempts at their language: see this earlier blog for a taste of Danish).

My incredible host family was kind enough to not only let me share a room in their house, but included me in holiday traditions (you haven’t lived until you’ve had a Danish holiday meal of roast pork with crackling, new potatoes and braised cabbage), trips to the castles and cathedrals upon which their culture was built over centuries, and even a family reunion. But even mundane daily life events, like riding my bike to the train station or sipping a beer in the late afternoon sun at Nyhavn, somehow felt more special because it was different than life at home.

When my girlfriend (now wife) & I found ourselves ready to move on from our jobs in New York a few years later, we decided to find another adopted home, this time with a simpler language and more hobbits. In addition to its friendly people, extraordinary scenery, and hands-down best mussels on the planet, New Zealand offered a perfect jumping-off point to see another half of the world. During our time living & traveling on the other side of the International Date Line, we managed to visit Australia, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore & the Cook Islands (it’s amazing how far your money goes in that part of the world). While traveling continuously for several months presented challenges, the experiences we had more than overcame any difficulties.

I recognize that I’ve been very lucky in my ability to travel, but I highly encourage anyone reading this to make it a life goal to visit another part of the world. Touring ancient shrines, scuba diving with hundreds of sea turtles, eating baby bees (they taste like caramel), watching surfers ride 15-foot high waves, tracking pygmy elephants and orangutans in the wild, hiking on glaciers … these are all experiences that simply can’t be had without getting out and exploring the world.

And while it’s nearly impossible to leave the Western world behind in this era of globalization (see Vang Vieng … yes, all the bars did in fact play “Friends” on non-stop loop), seeing a shanty town in El Salvador, attending a church service with an entire Fijian village, or witnessing the atrocities that Pol Pot’s committed against his own people provide a unique perspective on life that I believe help enrich my personal views and can make us all better global citizens.

So thanks Dad.

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Post written by Jonas Nemura, who works to keep The Bruery beer flowing at bars and on retailers’ shelves across the US and around the world.

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