N. R. Bergeson is the author of the “Glass Globe” series of children’s novels, a U.S. Diplomat, and a passionate proponent of global education.
N. R. (Nils) Bergeson spent his childhood in beautiful Northern Utah, graduating from Utah State University, and later earned a Master’s degree the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He subsequently set off to see the world, and has since lived in Russia (as a missionary with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and later as a student), Romania (as a volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps), Colombia, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and soon Indonesia (all as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development). He has traveled to more than 60 countries with his wife, Emily, and their three young children.
Nils is enamored with the international world and plans to visit everywhere if he can. He hopes his writing will instill a desire in the rising generation to take advantage of modern opportunities to see the world, learn new languages, and expand their cultural experiences as far as they can.
Disclaimer: All that you see on this web page represents the personal views of N. R. Bergeson, and are not the official views of the United States Government or any other organization with which he is affiliated.
The Longer Version
I love traveling the world. I deeply understand the meaning of the wanderlust as well as anybody, as adventure has been part of me for as long as I can remember.
My original inspiration was my grandfather, a former pilot in the U.S. Air Force. Besides serving in World War II, the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, his work took him around the globe to nearly every continent. As a child, I was fascinated with his tales of travel to Africa, South America, Australia, Asia, Europe, and more.
I left the United States for the first time soon after high school, visiting Europe as part of a class trip/cultural exchange program. I had only been home for days when I set off again to Australia. These two experiences proved worthy appetizers, but I didn’t truly begin my international feast until two years later. At age 19, I was shocked (at first, though later thrilled) to receive a call as a Mormon missionary to Siberia.
I was young and inexperienced when I arrived in the stunning city of Krasnoyarsk, but I loved it from the start. A few months in, I recall a poignant experience. While walking home after a long day’s long work, the distinct thought came to me – “I could do this forever. I could spend my life living in a country other than my own.” It stuck with me then, and continued to grow.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love the United States, and I’m filled with joy every time I set foot on my native soil. I plan to one day return back to the USA for good, retire there, grow old there, and watch my children and grandchildren grow up there. But that time hasn’t arrived for me. Not quite yet.
After two years in Russia, that longing to see and experience new places became an essential part of who I am. I lasted all of six months at home before I set off again on a massive tour of 18 countries in Europe, including a semester spent back in Russia. As I returned home and finished college, that familiar wanderlust was burning as bright as ever.
I learned that my joy in life is inseparably linked to learning as much about the world as possible, and I set my sights on a career in the foreign service. In the meantime, I searched for other opportunities to live and work abroad. The Peace Corps looked particularly promising.
Around this time I met the most amazing girl. In fact, when Emily and I first talked, we hit if off as she told me of her desire to see the world. She’d also been looking into the Peace Corps. The next few months were a whirlwind. I began and completed coursework for an internationally-focused Master’s degree, married Emily, and applied with her jointly to serve in the Peace Corps. Less than nine months after our wedding, we were on a plane headed to Romania and were sworn in as Peace Corps volunteers.
Happy newlyweds in Romania.
While in Romania, I was hired to my dream job with as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), ensuring that I’d satiate my thirst for life abroad and then some. In the years since we’ve found ourselves living in Colombia, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and (soon) Indonesia. Each place has been wonderful and memorable. By the time I complete my four year tour in Indonesia in 2020, I will have spent 14 out of 18 years living abroad, in seven different countries.
I feel experiencing the world is the most effective way to learn and expand our understanding. I can think of nothing that brings more personal growth than immersing ourselves in a culture other than our own, and coming to appreciate other points of view and new ways of living. I believe that many, if not most of the problems we face in the world today are rooted in a lack of understanding and appreciation for those who are different than us.
Along this journey, and continuing forward, I’ve developed a great desire to share my love of this world with others, particularly young people. I came up with the concept for my “Glass Globe” series with the hope that it would be able to draw young readers into new places that they’ve never experienced before, instilling in them a desire to see these places for themselves and subject themselves to this same healthy growth.
We live in an age where travel to almost anywhere in the world is far more convenient and affordable than at any other time in history. This trend will continue, and our up-and-coming generation will be part of a truly global existence. I hope you’ll start to make plans for your own travels around the world. Not only is it fun – it truly helps make the world a better place.