Mark Twain wrote:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
People need to travel – for the sake of those they share their space with,
because it opens up our world,
and helps build confidence,
enriching our interpersonal relationships through shared experiences.
My personal preference, when it comes to exploring the planet has always been to plant a few roots, rather than take a 7 in 7 style tour…..Sharing a space in the village provides a hands on experience that I believe cannot happen on a ‘back-pack/fly-by’.
Whether attending junior high in Texas, packing fish in Iceland, counselling kids in the Catskill’s, serving cocktails on the Greek Isles or playing ‘house’ along the shores of East Africa, my travel experiences have helped mold me.
And now back ‘on the road’ my style – I am immersed in yet another set of cultures, different from my own – and far from the place I call home.
It has been an amazing experience to travel again and share the experience of travel with my kids and through it I have watched them grow in many positive ways, as they have had to cope with saying goodbye and saying hello – dealt with international arrivals and departures, overnight flights, odd looking cuisine, the fluidity of expat culture and very different currencies, cultural beliefs and rituals..and they are, I believe, open-minded, nonprejudicial and are certainly not bigots –
But don’t for a moment be fooled into believing that it is all happy, fun, glam filled days of games, travel-play, sight seeing and smooth sailing…
Packing up and saying goodbye to those you love and the space you consider home is no easy task.
And while I am grateful each and every day (although deeply heart-sore that the situation exists) that we are not being forced into traveling on foot with whatever we can manage to carry on our backs – as ours is a privileged and protected experience – it still has aspects of physical but mostly emotional rigor and it takes courage to walk into a new environment with your happy-face on, your head held high and your hand outstretched – and if you don’t, the result is real loneliness…
So there are plenty of positives that result from experiencing beautiful, interesting and different places, and tapping into the tantalizing taste of something new, along with the momentary escape from one’s current reality: and who doesn’t need a piece of that every once in awhile??
But there is perhaps the biggest positive of all…
and that is the deep appreciation of what you have left behind – which perhaps is only realized through distancing oneself for a while,
and the joy felt when you return to your people, whoever they might be..and realize that you, too, have a tribe……
October 2016: Celebrating the rigor of travel and the love of home.