Translator: Queenie LeeReviewer: Peter van de Ven Good morning.
(Applause) (Cheers) So, the idea that I want to share with youthis morning is a very simple one, and it's to travel more and to buy less.
(Applause) (Cheers) Thank you.
And I want to challenge each of us to invest in experiencesinstead of more stuff.
I was born in Mexico Cityin the hot summer of 1975.
And when I was around five years old, my family had had enough of the noise, the traffic, and the haste and decided to emigrateto the United States.
So we hopped in my mom's Renault 5and made the journey north.
Now, in many ways, San Diegowas a beautiful place to grow up, and I really had a happy childhood, where I was loved, and I was supported, and I had opportunitiesto grow, learn, and have fun.
But growing up, I felt stuck in between two worlds.
I didn't really feel Mexicanand I didn't really feel American.
A lot of the influence and the ideas that I was getting from my peersand from the media was that Mexicansare criminals and dangerous, or lazy, or this idea of a wetbackand a beaner coming to steal jobs, or even a narco trafficanteindiscriminately spreading violence.
But the polarizationkind of went both ways; I'd go spend the summers in Mexico, and my cousins would call me a gringo.
(Laughter) This idea of being unculturedor arrogant or biased or even racist.
Ultimately, I felt likea citizen of nowhere, like I didn't have a placewhere I truly belonged.
Now, I felt the pull of travelfrom a really, really young age, and I have vivid memoriesof being in my room and reading the biographies of these incredibleexplorers and adventurers, people like Jacques Cousteau, Amelia Earhart, Shackleton, Hillary, and Tenzing.
And I knew from a young age that exploration, discovery, and adventure are essential elementsof the human experience, and rarely are we more alive than when we're outexploring and discovering.
So I decided to see the world, and adventure answered.
I got a job with a Britishoverland company who for some reason on the second dayof a three-week training trip thought I was ready for the road.
So I got my assignment: a six-week trip starting in New York going to Los Angelesand back to New York.
I got on a flight from LAX to JFK, and I arrived at the Hostelling Internationalon the Upper West Side of Manhattan at 1:30 in the morning.
At 7:30 that morning, I met my group of 13 people from six countries, ranging from ages 18 to 64.
All right, you bought the ticket;now let's take the ride.
(Laughter) That first day, city tour of New York, take the Staten Island Ferry, pass the Lady Liberty, air high-five, get on the New Jersey Turnpike, get to Philadelphia, lunch at the Liberty Bell, all in time to get to DC for dinnerand a night tour of the mall.
I had only been to New York City once.
(Laughter) I was so greenthat I thought the only time that you had to put the tarpon top of the van was when it was raining.
So I'm driving down the Turnpike, and sleeping bags and backpacksare falling off of the back.
(Laughter) Somehow those guests and I survived, and very, very soon I knewthat I had found my calling.
And over the course of just over a year, I had the opportunityto see all 50 states, and I had a new job with a new companyto lead in Mexico and Latin America.
But more on that in a minute.
Let's talk about how muchdo we actually travel.
Only 35% of Americans have passports.
Here in Oregon, it's about 40%;in Mississippi, it's about 18%.
And of all of the travel, only 30% of international travel will go outside of the U.
So that's to say that less than 10%of the U.
population will leave the continent in a given year.
Why? Well, I think it has to dowith three main reasons: work, money, and fear.
I know it sounds likea dope hip-hop album, but it's not, it's not.
(Laughter) Let's unpack these a little bit.
The first one, we are a nation of workaholics, right? If I was to ask many of ushow we're doing, including me, what would your answer be? I'm busy.
The glorification of “busy” is real, and it's a problem.
We don't take vacations.
15 days is the averageamount of vacation we take, and that's down from 21 daysin the year 2000.
169 million days of unused vacation a year valued at over $52 billion.
This idea that we gofrom high school to college, to career, perhaps have a family, at the end, we accumulate some wealth, and that is how we get respect.
This idea that making moneyand having things is much more valued and celebratedthan having enriching experiences.
Who here knows what a gap year is? Who's been on a gap year?Keep your hand raised.
I've seen some hands.
Well, very simply, a gap year is takingsix months or a year off, after high school or maybe after college, before starting your career, and making a depositof epic awesomeness to your mind, your body, and your soul.
(Applause) (Cheers) In fact, in a study of hundreds of peoplethat had gone on a gap year, these were the top three outcomes.
I have a better understanding of who I am; I have a better understandingand empathy towards others; and I have some more contextto help me choose my path and to build skills to carry forward.
Let's talk about the second reasonpeople don't travel, and that's fear.
I was watching the Super Bowl – I was watching the Super Bowl last year when I heard the advertisementfor this television show, and it said: Criminal Minds -Beyond Borders.
Americans travel, study, and work abroad, but sometimes they never come home.
(Laughter) And this is what millions of usare watching before we go to bed at night.
(Laughter) Now, it is nearly impossibleto consume media across any channel and not hear about terrorism or ISIS.
Now, that is not to say that these horrifying thingsaren't happening, but of the 1.
1 billion people that willtravel internationally this year, very, very few will encounter any of this.
And of course, there's alwaysa health scare somewhere in the world.
I spent two weeks in Brazil last year, and I didn't meet anyone who had the first-handexperience with Zika.
And again, it's notthat this is not happening, but perhaps they're not reasons not to go.
The third reason we don't travel: no money.
We don't have any moneybecause we spend it all on stuff.
(Laughter) In 1930, the average Americanhad nine outfits.
Now we have over 30.
In the UK right now, the average womanhas 22 unworn items in her closet.
We have so much stuffit doesn't fit in our homes.
We're spending over $24 billiona year on storage, over 2.
3 billion square feet of itin the United States, making it the fastest-growing segmentof commercial real estate over the last 40 years.
And it is often less expensiveto travel outside the United States, and my wife and Itook a six-month honeymoon in Nepal, India, and Thailand, and we spent just over $4, 000.
All to say in this quoteby one of my favorite writers, Pico Iyer, that “One is reminded, at a level deeper than all words, how making a living and making a life sometimes pointin the opposite direction.
” (Applause) Now travel is the ultimate truth teller, mythbuster, and stereotype killer, because after I had the opportunityto spend extended time in Mexico and collect my own first-hand data, I realized that Mexicans aren't lazy.
In fact, they're someof the most entrepreneurial, ingenious, and hardworking peoplethat I had ever met.
(Applause) And in all of my time in Mexico, I never felt in harm's way.
In fact, looking at the data, Mexico City is saferthan many American cities.
In fact, the Yucatan Peninsula is safer, according to the FBI, than many US states, including Oregon.
And of course, I also got the contextto appreciate and be grateful for the opportunity to havinggrown up in the United States and becoming a US citizen.
And that idea of a gringo, completely shattered by the experienceof driving around the 50 states with a van full of international tourists, and the most common reactionthat we would get is a big smile and the question:Where you all from? Often followed by an invitationto a backyard barbecue, and an appreciation for the natural beautyand open space of the backyard, and that ultimately, regardless ofwhere we sit in the political spectrum, that we live in a countrywhere we can raise our children with our values, our ideals, and our beliefs.
(Applause) Now, travel has truly transformed me.
I met my wife almost 20 years ago, in a campground in southern Mexico, in Palenque, Chiapas, and I stand before youon this stage right now, a proud Mexican-American.
(Cheers) (Applause) But also with the knowledgeand the greatest gift when we go out and see the world is that it doesn't matterif we're Mexican or American or Canadian or Syrian or Australian, but ultimately, that we are all human.
And that what we wantand dream and desire is so much more similarthan it is different.
(Applause) So what about – what about you? I invite you to make thoughtful choices, so perhaps instead of going to Cancun, travel a little further north; and visit Isla Holboxand swim with whale sharks.
Or instead of going to Las Vegas, extend your stay; and visit Zion National Park and walk this beautiful red rockto the top of Angel's Landing.
Or instead of going to Hawaiior to Honolulu, perhaps considerthe Big Island of Hawaii, and see a lava flow, literally:the earth forming at your feet.
Right now, with an American passportyou can visit 174 countries without a visa or get a visaat the point of entry.
Even with the challenging thingsthat are happening in the world, it is an extraordinary timeto be a traveler.
So what does this mean? If you're young, it means to go.
You're living a moment in your life where you havemore freedom and flexibility than you may ever have before.
Right now, the lights are shimmeringover Kuala Lumpur, and a group of young peopleare enjoying a cocktail and a laugh.
Why are you not there? (Laughter) But if you're older, it also means go; it's likely that it willtake more planning, but you have more resourcesthan you had before.
Right now, in a remote Rolandic fjord, the chef is ringing the bell and calling you to a three-courselocally sourced dinner; why are you not there? (Laughter) Now, if you have young kids .
you're fucked! (Laughter) (Applause) That's not true.
I stand here.
(Laughter) It's not a vacation, but it is a trip and as a – (Laughter) and as a father of three, five and under, it takes a lot of work, but family travelcan be extraordinarily rewarding.
So whether you're in your 20sand taking a gap year, in your 30s working to take a month off, a sabbatical in your 40s, looking towards a retirementand perhaps living abroad, there is never a bad time.
And it's no judgment and no competitionon the level of epic or the length of time because what's adventure to meand to you and to you are all different things.
Ultimately the idea hereis to travel more and to buy less.
Say no, gentlemen, to that man cave of your dreams.
Say no! (Applause) (Cheers) And ladies, the she shed -the she shed, it's not that sexy.
Say no! And say yes to a transformativetravel experience.
This is not aboutchecking things off a list; it's about havingmeaningful experiences.
So now I want all of usto make a promise and in your mind's eye picture a place that you have always wanted to visit, picture it clearly.
What do you see? Who are you with?What do you hear? What do you smell? What's the temperature of the breezethat's hitting your cheek? Can you picture this placethat you've always dreamed of going? Now make a promise that this year or next year, as soon as you can, you will stand in this moment, and you will be there.
Now raise your hand, who's in? Who's in? (Cheers) Thank you.