This year my son got his passport … and he’s already used it twice before he’s even entered the third grade. That’s a far cry from the family vacations I remember!

Every summer, all seven of us would climb into the family van and road trip from Kansas City to California to see my grandparents (and every cousin, family friend and national monument in between). I was 18 the first time I left the country in 1990 to see the U.S. national soccer team get hammered by Austria in their first World Cup competition since 1950.

Today, international travel is more affordable, and ­social media and live streaming capabilities make dreams of seeing the world a reality, even if it’s of the virtual sort.

We’ve been talking for years about people’s propensity to experience the world through food, thanks to things like the unfiltered guidance of the late Anthony Bourdain. I saw him speak a few years back at the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association’s annual conference, and he tipped us off to fermentation as a food trend and that “funk” equates to “flavor.”

This year more than ever, we at Baking & Snack have covered the industry on a global level. From trends in the Chinese market, to examples of how Mexico City-based Grupo Bimbo found strategies for growth amidst a Latin American recession, the global landscape has been an overarching theme throughout 2018. In fact, it’s the topic of this issue’s Special Report.

It seems like hardly a month goes by that we don’t get invitations to plants or new R.&D. centers in every conceivable region of the world. Dan Malovany, editorial director, has visited European plants in France and, most recently, Spain, where he toured the behemoth Dulcesol plant in the country’s Valencia region.

With iba upon us in Munich and plans already underway for the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), to be held Sept. 7-11, 2019, in Las Vegas, we have a sharp focus on worldwide baking. In fact, some American Bakers Association member companies will be sending representatives to iba in an ambassador-type role in preparation for the “international” side of IBIE (which A.B.A. co-owns with BEMA and the Retail Bakers of America).

“A lot of bakers go to iba to look at equipment from U.S. and European suppliers, and that gives them an opportunity to have conversations, particularly with European suppliers, who are coming to IBIE the following year when these bakers are ready to make a decision and a purchase,” Robb MacKie, A.B.A. president and chief executive officer, told Mr. Malovany in the Special Report.

While many American suppliers will have a presence in iba’s U.S. Pavilion, even more will be located throughout the show’s 12 exhibit halls. These varied locations are also a telling sign of how small the world has become; many exhibitors who once called the U.S. Pavilion home have since completed international mergers and acquisitions to serve the industry on an international level and from practically any point on the globe.

On my California vacations, Walt Disney would tell me, “It’s a small world, after all.” I wonder if he could have predicted, generations later, just how right he’d be.