Jean_Seberg_in_Breathless_selling_International_Herald_Tribune "Once you travel abroad, the news never looks the same."

So said Brady Calestro over a croissant at Pistacia Vera last year. 

It was true for me.
I remember my 90-day, 10,000 mile drive through Europe during the summer of 1986. From Norway to Rome to Oporto to Amsterdam with a jump to the Cotswolds. I camped every night and drove someplace new every few days. 

All the way round, I read The International Herald Tribune and I became increasingly aware that this beloved newspaper — my lifeline back to the United States, the daily NYT crossword puzzle and Doonesbury — was a peculiar perspective: that of the United States.

(The perspective is even narrower: as a collaboration of The New York Times and The Washington Post, we can agree that the perspective is — like it or not – of Liberal United States. 

Then You Come Home.
And nothing seems the same. Everyone is just as you left them. But you are different. 

What changed? 
You know that there is another perspective: one that might irritate you, delight you, bore you. But there is always another perspective. 

Like my dinner date in Berlin.

I had asked for information at the Tourist Center in West Berlin. This was before East and West Germany were reunited — and I had just driven a fearful ride through East German to isolated West Berlin. The East German police had perfected a threatening theatre of the mind and it had worked well on me.

The tourism representative was a beautiful, young woman. So I asked her one more question, "Would you come to dinner with me?" She sighed and — with no better prospects (her hair was short, it didn't need shampooing) — she said, "Yes."

Over dinner, I asked her about living in the shadow of the wall. I don't remember my question specifically, but it drew a sharp response. She said: "Oh, you Americans. You are so dramatic about the Wall. You think life on the other side is terrible. And you think your freedoms are the envy of the world. Well, the people on the other side of the wall all have equality. And you have only the freedoms you can afford."

(I'm not sure how to say "strike out" in German, but you've already seen me strike out in Russian.) 

Anyway, her words stung. I'd never seen the world that way. And while I have never come to fully agree with her, it was instructive to hear a very divergent opinion. 

What's A World Traveler To Do?
So this, fellow, Brady Calestro has developed a website called Mondokio, which means "world eye" in Italian.

The website shows the story of the day and a map of links (and quick snippets) to other newspapers throughout the world.

I thought of Mondokio right away when the killing of bin Laden was announced Sunday night. And, of course, that story is front and center on Mondokio.

Agree or disagree, the rest of the world's opinions make good reading, if your mind is open enough to tolerate differing views. Try to remember Robert Frost's definition of education: being able to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.

Please check out Mondokio and let me know what you think. (Brady has invited me to be a member of his Advisory Board.)