I grew up in Salem, Utah, which installed its first traffic light when I was a junior in high school. When you walk into the post office, you are greeted by name. And, on the first Saturday in August, the city feeds everyone breakfast.

While there is a certain small-town charm to Salem, my soul has always longed to be a part of a larger world. I grew up playing historical trivia for fun and escaping from life into Jane Austen’s British manors again and again. The cultures of the world outside of my little town fascinated me.

Every time I journeyed outside of my isolated community, I was left in awe. Traveling exposed me to cultures that had existed for hundreds of years and in no way resembled the life I had experienced. When I drove through the Scottish hills, I was impressed by the feeling that people had been farming on them for thousands of years. I respected the experience in a way I had not anticipated. Additionally, when I observed hand weavers making traditional blouses in Guatemala, I was amazed. The weavers could effortlessly thread in and out of the lines to create tiny figures of cats or birds without even looking, trained by years of repetition and childhoods spent watching the generations before them do the same. The history of the world lives on in the day-to-day lives of people all over the planet. And, while we play a small part in that history, we should appreciate it while we can. Through traveling, I finally connected to the larger world and made sense of my thirst for history. Traveling can allow others to do the same.

I believe that humans have an innate desire to come together, which we can accomplish through traveling and seeing other cultures. In this issue of Stowaway, you will have the opportunity to reimagine life in a world of opposites and contradictions, such as fire and ice. You will also be able to access the remnants of historical civilizations across the world. As you explore the lands and ways of life outlined in this issue, I hope you find inspiration for your own life and gain a greater understanding of how we all fit into this point of the world’s history.

—Maryn Turley