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The Curiosity Quotient

Do you know what your curiosity quotient is?   OK, I don’t either, but the very name intrigued me when I ran across a book with that title and was – well – curious.

It seems this all started with author and journalist Thomas L. Friedman, who postulates an entirely unscientific theory (with what even Wikipedia calls a non-mathematical and fictitious formula) to measure a person’s curiosity quotient.   To what purpose, I’m not at all sure.   But when somebody combines “life-long learning”, “powerfully motivated”, and “passion” in the same sentence – I’m there!  That’s me!   That’s what I do!

There is actually a website about this phenomenon (   Personally, it turned me off immediately with all of its searches and tests, which reminded me of those silly quizzes that eternally circulate throughout Facebook determining what day of the week you should have been born, or what celebrity should be your best friend.

But the website does state an admirable goal: to ignite curiosity and inspire people to learn.   Works for me.

Another Google search offered up this from Cari E. Guittard, a professor with an impossibly long (and suspiciously corporate-sounding) title:   “minds are ever hungry and they are always learning, seeking and sharing new knowledge.”   So now it has to be “new” knowledge.   What about drawing conclusions and benefiting from thoughtful deliberations?

Still, I’m a curious person, so I kept digging.   And wondering.

Thomas Friedman also states that “when curiosity is paired with passion in the exploration of a subject of interest, an individual may be able to acquire an amount of knowledge comparable to that of a person who is exceptionally intelligent”.   OK, now that stopped me cold.   I was taught to be deeply skeptical of any attempt to put a number on a person’s intelligence – as in I.Q. rankings.   And for good reason.   How many supposedly educated people have you encountered who didn’t have a lick of sense?   If your goal is to deceive people into thinking that you are intelligent, isn’t that tacitly admitting that you aren’t?

Despite my misgivings, I am intrigued by the concept of combining the acquisition of knowledge with passion.   That I can really relate to.

And I have devoted both my personal and professional life to expanding my own knowledge and that of anybody else who cares to listen.   I have often been pegged as a teacher, but in fact that is a career I studiously avoided after a childhood spent listening to my mother kvetch about all the politics and red tape she was required to negotiate in her attempt to inspire her students to explore and learn.   To her credit, she stuck it out to the age of 72, but I wouldn’t have lasted a week!

My readers – and especially participants on our excursions – seem to appreciate the knowledge that we share on our websites, in blogs, and which our tour directors share on the road.   In addition, all Vanishing Trails Expeditions include recommended reading lists prior to taking the trip.   These are specifically designed to help enhance your anticipation – and hopefully understanding – of the areas we are going to visit, the experiences we are going to share and the people we are going to meet along the way.    It’s the only way to go as far as I am concerned, and we plan to continue to offer Journeys of Discovery to curious travelers, with or without a quotient!

We’d love to have you join us on the trail soon!



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