Robontap/ Robert Kirby

Over the weekend (January 27-29), marked the 14th year for The New York Times Travel Show—the largest consumer travel and trade show in North America. 29,000+ like-minded travelers and wanderlusts gathered at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC for the three-day event that featured 500+ exhibitor booths from around the globe, 250+ industry speakers and experts & 100+ cultural presentations.

Instagrammer and avid, melanated world traveler Robontap a.k.a Robert Kirby was there and had a poignant moment with a fellow globetrotter that reaffirmed his passion for seeing the world. But we’ll let him tell the story:

A photo posted by A Guy Named Rob (@robontap) on

Not all who wander are lost.”

Someone who has a natural inclination to travel will stop at nothing to do so. There is no obstacle large enough to overwhelm the intense passion that resides within someone who others might refer to as “lost”. Yesterday at the #NYTimesTravelShow I met a very inspiring man by the name of Henry. And the way we met really moved my spirit and I want to share #allthefeels with you. Henry reassured me of the very reason I love traveling and how it continues to shape my life.

I travel to get lost in the unknown, to see for myself, to meet other people and to be able to see the world from their perspective. 

Henry just happens to be a senior citizen and is also blind. As I was exploring the Asia Pavilion I found Henry wandering off toward a back doorway between two exhibitors. I noticed his guide stick and knew immediately that he needed some help. So, I stopped him and said “Sir, there’s nothing in that direction. But I can guide you to wherever you want to go.” I then described to him what I saw in front of me and all around. I told him that Asia is straight ahead of us, the #Caribbean is behind us, #Africa and Europe are a few aisles over and beyond that are the Americas. He said that he’s visited all of those already and wants to go see the Americas. So as we walked to #TheAmericas, we talked about some of our travels and how much we were enjoying the trade show. He said he’s been to San Francisco, France and a few other places. But he wants to explore more of the U.S. I didn’t ask him where he was from or how old he was. Because in that moment it didn’t matter. We were both meant to be there at that very moment. One of us with wisdom and the other with vision. And both of us with an unwavering mission to keep going.

I share this with you not for the likes or the “aww Rob” comments, but as a reminder that no matter where you are in life, no matter the obstacles or the direction your life is going in there’s always someone else struggling with their own uncertainties who you can help. Maybe it won’t solve all of your problems but helping someone else solve theirs is just as rewarding if not more so.

So, I would like to thank Henry for rewarding me with an opportunity to learn far more than what is written in any of the bazillion brochures I picked up yesterday. And thank you #NYTimesTravel for bring us together at the right time in the right place. I can’t wait till next year’s show!


Robontap/ Robert Kirby

You can keep up with Robert Kirby’s worldwide adventures on Instagram @robontap

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