It’s not every day I get an invitation to the White House from the President’s office in my inbox. I remember that day, my emotions seemed to follow through every stage of the grief cycle, with the initial shock, “oh crap, are my taxes up to date?” Then moving on to denial, “Why me?” and eventually leading to acceptance. I’ve realized that this is a really good thing for everyone.

Travel Blogger Summit

So, Why Does Washington Care About Travel Bloggers Anyway?

The White House Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship is bringing “the top 100 most influential bloggers and digital influencers” to Washington DC on December 9th to harness the transformative power of travel for the benefit of our country. I am honored and excited to be invited. This summit is the perfect intersection of my passion (the experience of travel and travel writing), my experience (helping leading foundations find better ways to solve the world’s problems) and my influence.

Travel blogging and travel writing is a sexy idea. It sits at the top of the list of glamorous dream jobs, but many times doesn’t get much recognition in the real world. What excites me the most (other than the rumors of meeting the first dog) is the recognition of the value of travel in the land of ambition, the recognition that something is missing from us if we never leave the cubicle, the recognition that waiting until retirement to travel is not the best way to incubate future leaders, the recognition that the future prosperity of America can’t rest on the shoulders of people who have never left the country. Narrow-minded leaders lack the perspective to lead in our increasingly dynamic world. Power without perspective is destabilizing- as we all learned from the emperor without clothes.

But what can we do about it?

further reading: In Advance of the White House Summit on Global Citizenship

White House Travel

I Want Your Opinion:

Why don’t Americans travel overseas? Everyday I see people boiling over with excitement to backpack through Southeast Asia or hiking to Macchu Picchu or going on an African safari. I see British college students taking a “gap year” to travel the world and find their calling with the encouragement of their family. I also see far too many Americans avoiding travel until they have accumulated 2 weeks of annual vacation days and have a timeshare in Florida.

Why does the excitement of travel so quickly turn into such a sheltered existence? Can we not afford to travel? Do we not want to travel? Are we scared that travel will change us? Is it against our American culture to travel? I want to know what you think.

How Can The White House Help More People Study Abroad? Here is Your Chance to be heard.

Add yourself to the Mosaic below and tell everyone why they should study abroad!


Have you studied abroad? Know someone who has? Why should students study abroad? Chime in and let your voice be heard. Click the ADD ME button to add yourself to the #StudyAbroadBecause mosaic.
Patent pending, Hyperactivate


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A big thank you to HI-USA and everyone who worked so hard to make this happen. Travel Blogger Summit photo by:Nathaniel Boyle‎ Want to follow the conversation?  Look for the hashtag  #WHTravelBloggers on Twitter.


About the author: Brad Bernard


Brad Bernard has traveled through 92 countries to find off-the-map experiences and authentic adventure travel. He pushes his own personal boundaries by travelling experimentally. Brad’s personal quest to find the most extreme and unique in travel has bred misadventures and moments of enlightenment alike. You can read his craziest stories on his adventure travel blog