A Voyage – Not a Cruise Not a Crossing

Words Count. Global Learn Day is a Voyage.

Global Learn Day is not a “cruise” – like those utterly common on the Med and on the Caribbean. Cruises are wonderful for fun, love and relaxation. Also perfect for improving your tan.

Nor is Global Learn Day a “Crossing”. That’s a term reserved for those who make their way on and across an Ocean. To or from Europe, Africa and the Americas; to or from the Pacific and the Atlantic. Ocean Crossings are worthy of putting on your Bucket List. Even if you have made them several times.

Voyages are an animal of a very different stripe. Voyages are what got Columbus to the New World and Armstrong to the moon.

But a “Voyage” doesn’t have to be globally stupendous to have lifetime value. Your first Voyage might have been when your Mom let you camp overnight in the back yard. Or the first time you rode on Superman’s Cape at the local cinema. Dr. Terry Redding, a long time GLD advocate, earned his doctorate by a brilliant thesis called The First Moment of Lasting Excitement. The short of it is that positive experiences, especially in one’s youth, are likely to bring substantial long-term benefits. “Voyages”, he says, “are a perfect example”.

Our claim is this. Whether viewed through your own personal lens, or from a global perspective, “Voyages” are good seedlings for honorable tombstone inscription. As good a reason as there is for us to attract those of high acclaim and those of high ambition. Participation couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is pick up the phone..free, from many countries)

What makes GLD squarely a “Voyage” is because it’s always been a Mission of Discovery. Since our very first “Rounding”, 17 years ago, the undertaking is a mash-up of travel, experiment, innovation, advocacy, passion and inordinately curious fellow shipmates. Nobody suffers from cold, hunger, drowning or the lash. We avoid boring yada, yada, yada like good skippers avoid bad reefs. What we are NOT is some ordinary “Webinar”.

What’s on offer is simple: Good shipmates; wide outreach; new vistas.


Our chief goal is provide around two dozen compelling conversations primarily focused on the three great issues of our time:

  • Increasing access to education, heavily focused on MOOCs
  • Equal gender opportunity, with much discussion about VDay

We will flavor and layer the conversations by mixing and matching Region to Theme. Most likely if our Clipper is in Africa or the Middle East, the main topic will be improving access to education or improving gender equality. But all along the way there will also be “Local Pilots” there to provide gems about history, culture, language, commerce — and special places not to be missed. (With portrayals about cities and sites that belong on your Bucket List.)


We will recruit like crazy from the stages of TED. You don’t get on TED unless you have mighty important stuff to talk about. Or worth listening to. And elsewhere, to include those who have been featured on Public Radio (BBC and PBS in particular. In trade for the time they give us, they get our megaphone, and that of the community radio stations who carry their voices. Win-win all around.


“Presentations” will be short, (5-7 minutes) pre-recorded, hard-hitting, washed, waxed and polished. After that will come plenty of time, in real time, for question, comment and debate. The text chat room will be lively, filled with links to web pages that add to the discussion.


Sure. Our make-believe ship, the Franklin Clipper, is as imaginary as the tiger in the extraordinary 3D film, The Life of Pi. We can’t equal those guys, but we will have spectacular visuals, some in 3-D. Good enough for National Geographic. Good enough for us. Here’s a sample – many more to come!

And no, we are never going to be in the pantheon with Erickson, Columbus, Drake, Magellan or Cook. Or Gagarin, Glenn and Armstrong. But just because the Clipper is imaginary does not mean we can’t make a big splash.

If we do it “right” our prediction is that at least 30 community radio stations will re-broadcast some of the recordings. If so, this would mean a listening audience of around 600,000. Not close to the one billion that came to VDay. But, heck, we don’t have Jane Fonda on board — at least not yet,

What’s now ahead is the hard fact a 24 hour Voyage and promises as made here, this will require a that every single one of the 1,440 minutes the Clipper is “under sail” are waxed, washed, polished and shine as brightly as those the smiles on those who just won an Oscar.

People like this:   Sir John Daniel, Sir Ken Robinson, Simon Winchester, Sylvia Earle, the leaders of VDay.

Stay tuned. Better yet. Send me a note — skipper AT bfranklin DOT edu. Or call me in Eugene, Oregon, Home of the Ducks +1 541 343 9389.

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