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One Alum's Round-the-World Adventure

Jeb Brooks says he lives by this central philosophy: Everybody’s got to be somewhere.

During the course of 34 days last November and December, he was everywhere.

Jeb, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2005, took a sabbatical from his job as president of research and development at The Brooks Group, a sales training company, in Greensboro, N.C. He packed a couple of bags (honest, just two), boarded an airplane in Atlanta and set off on a RTW trip.

That’s RTW as in Round the World. He traveled about 142,000 miles and spent 88.5 hours in airplanes. His itinerary featured stops in Paris, Copenhagen, Cape Town, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Sydney, Auckland and Queenstown.

And just so he didn’t leave anybody in the dark, Jeb wrote about his experiences all along the way. He’s a prolific writer, editor of the Ring-tum Phi while he was at W&L and co-author of “Perfect Phrases for the Sales Call.” He filled his blog, GreenerGrass.com, a great read even when he’s not gallivanting around the globe, with lively accounts of his experiences.

As Jeb explained in a post from Paris, his first stop on the journey, “I’m doing my best to disconnect from the world while not losing touch with it. . . . I’m taking in the world without taking it on.”

The blog features plenty of interesting observations, and the photos and captions are equally engaging.

His writing did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. In addition to the comments he received from his blog followers, the Greensboro News & Record in his hometown published excerpts from the blog on the front of its Ideas section last month. The paper’s front page even featured a photograph of Jeb diving out of a plane (for fun, not in frustration) over New Zealand.

Once he unpacked and stopped blogging about the trip, Jeb put all the posts together and produced an e-book that you can purchase on Amazon. It’s titled “Around the World in 80 Hours: My RTW Adventure In Search of Greener Grass.”

If you don’t get to the blog or the book (and, really, you should), here’s a particularly poignant passage from Jeb’s summing-up chapter in December:

When I set out on this journey, I planned to take in the world, not take it on. I went to places I’d read about, but never seen. Nowhere I visited was “undiscovered.” There were Starbucks, Apple Stores, and KFC’s most everywhere I went (for the record, I avoided them all).

I planted no flags, claimed no lands, delivered no blankets covered with smallpox. I’m not Columbus, da Gama, or Magellan. I just wanted to meet some new people, learn about these places, and begin to understand just how big the world is.

And, he concluded, “it’s freaking huge.”

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