Today we share in the outpouring of grief and remembrance after the untimely passing on Saturday of Keith Bellows, our director of consumer engagement.
After 17 years as an award-winning editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler, Bellows had only just begun to ramp up his efforts with us. The impression he left, however, was far, far greater than the short time during which his vision, passion, insight and energy helped guide our still-young endeavors.
After all, long before he assumed the title he chose with us, Bellows was instrumental in formulating the Family Travel Association mission, built on his foundational belief in the power of travel to transform children’s lives. Actually, to transform everyone’s lives, but he placed special emphasis on the critical and impressionable years of youth, when, in his words, “the true educational power of travel” has greatest effect.
With this as his polestar, and despite the real and perceived obstacles, Bellows was never afraid to lead by example. He always acted on behalf of his own beloved children in ways that he thought others should their own. As part of our current FTA Spotlight series on Re/Defining Family Travel, Bellows, an early and enthusiastic contributor, wrote an essay just last month about how to use travel as a learning tool. “Make Family Travel an Accepted Form of Education” is an appeal from him to common sense in the face of school systems convinced that “more learning occurs in a classroom than in the world beyond it.”
For the larger stage, his devotion to leveraging travel as an educational tool inspired him to author a 2013 book, 100 Places That Can Change Your Child’s Life: From Your Backyard to the Ends of the Earth.
In everything he did, Keith Bellows embodied the spirit of all that’s good about travel, something in which we also steadfastly believe. He may have left us in body, but his resonant and reasoned voice will continue to find echo in everything we do. We will always work to do honor to his insuppressible passion and his tenacious pursuit of noble values.
Rest in peace, Keith. We had packed for a long journey with you. As we know you would want, we travel on, our hearts made heavy by your absence, but our resolve buoyed by your example.
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