Say yes to travel.

 

            Travel rejuvenates me. Wherever it may be, I’m always up for going some place new. It amazes me that even though I may never re-visit those places, I am still able to feel the moments I first experienced. Almost as if taking those journeys were not only to open my mind and soul, but gifts of beautiful memories that will forever be living inside me. You have to cherish each journey, honor and keep safe. You may never know when you’ll need to call on them again.

            Travel has helped me grow. Much of my independence is due to traveling at a young age. I believe it’s given me a confidence in myself being able to experience and relate to different parts of the world.

            Travel has taught me respect. Growing up in America, there tends to be a prideful attitude. Maybe it’s more of a Texan mindset, but its there in a lot of us. We live in an extremely blessed country, but it doesn’t mean we’re superior to others. When you enter a foreign land, you enter with an open heart and mind. You’re a visitor. This world is so big, how can it be that there is only one way to live. Learn about people. Learn about how they believe. Learn about what they appreciate most in life. Let people, culture, religion, and nature teach you. I thank my travels the most for opening my heart and seeing more clearly the truth in this world. And that is for each person to discover.

            Travel has kept me grounded. I thank my life everyday that I’ve seen poverty. As hard as it was to stomach at times, I needed to see it. I have to be reminded about the need in this world. Travel has shown me compassion.

            Seeing the world and meeting people different from me, it’s opened my mind to the bigness and beauty of humankind. With that said, it has also show me the dark side of human nature as well. Believe in the power of change, and run after it.

Moments from my travels that have formed who I am:

Moment: In a village, I met with a lady who did not speak English but somehow (and still amazes me to this day) we “communicated” for hours. Without being able to use words that both of us would understand, we still were able to connect, drink tea, smile, and “talk.” When I first walked into her home realizing that she did not know English, my reaction was to leave because I was nervous. She had a child who was born mentally retarded. She was abandoned by her family because they believed she and the child was cursed. Anyone could see, this was not a curse – we see children in the States getting the proper care and attention for this illness. She was in desperate need for interaction. We had a beautiful lunch.

Moment: As I continue to go back to the Caribbean, I’ve witnessed how sea life has drastically changed. Each time I scuba dive I notice less life, less color, and more trash. It breaks my heart each time because it’s people that have done this. That chapter of my life has set a fire in my heart to be more proactive about helping our environment.

Moment: While in India, I went to a leper’s hospital. Before you make the squinty face – I get it, but it was not dangerous. I also had a very uneasy feeling about being around so many “sick” people. But as I walked into the hospital, those unsettling feelings disappeared. I didn’t care how sick they were, I just wanted to meet them. I can’t even explain what happened inside me. It was as if I was overtaken by a spirit that needed to interact from these helpless people. A power of compassion took over my heart. I remember like it was yesterday, the caregiver saying, “Some of these people have never been touched or hugged by a stranger. These people’s families and friends have not been educated about this sickness, its okay to be with them.” I thought to myself, “This person has never received a hug?” Tears flowed becuase imagine a life without being hugged. Maybe it sounds silly to you, but truly think about the mulitple interactions you have daily that are greeted with a welcoming embrace. My heart sank. I went to every person I could meet with, looked them in the eyes, dhel their hands and said, “I love you.” My soul was forever changed. Thank you, thank you, and again thank you for changing me in that moment.

Moment: I loved living on Saba! Known as the Caribbean’s secret garden, it was truly the best experience I gave to myself. While exploring the island of Saba, I discovered the significance of solitude. We all need it at times, some more than others. Quiet mornings dedicated to meditation while the sun came up over the open sea. Days spent in silence, being able to truly have time with just me. It’s important to get to know ourselves. I fell in love with new parts of me. Because of traveling to a foreign land for the purpose of maturing myself, I am grateful.

            I could go on and on and share with you how my travels have taught me something new about life and myself but some memories are not all meant to be shared. Saint Augustine says it perfectly, “The world is a travel book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”

Let us read. Tell me your stories.

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