His sister, Susan, told John Drake Robinson that "well-traveled kids seem to adjust better to life. They understand how things fit together."
Robinson tells about that conversation on page 2 of his 185-page book, "A Road Trip Into America's Hidden Heart: Traveling the Back Roads, Backwoods and Back Yards."
Robinson - who served as Missouri's Tourism director from 2002-06 - also wrote that the conversation with his sister, a teacher, "made me stop and take inventory."
After his sister died - and after he left the Tourism Division - Robinson decided to take his own travels along Missouri's back roads, and find interesting stories waiting to be discovered.
"I found 32,314 stories on the road," he wrote.