To all of my dear travelers,
Dad used to say that home felt different to him when I left town. He could go for days without seeing me…but the fact that I was gone made a difference in his day. I know now how he felt. We can Skype, we have Facebook, we have email: but when you are out of the country I feel an invisible wall separating us. Weird, huh?
Weird, because I want you to go to foreign places. I love that you are experiencing other cultures, stretching yourself and leaving your comfort zone. There is nothing that widens our horizons as much as seeing how other people live. If we travel with an open heart and are ready to see and hear the sights and sounds, we are enriched. Those foreign places can be across the street or across the globe. The result is the same if we go with curiosity and good will.
It took me a long time to learn. I spent my childhood in the country near a small town. I was excited to go the twelve miles into the city (which was about 12,000 people). Traveling back to the mid-west one summer to visit relatives was dropping into a life so different from my own that the people seemed mythically large. The houses were furnished with real antiques and the yards were neat, tidy and in a row. I was in my thirties when I took my first plane trip. My older sister took me to Hawaii and I wore a dress in case the plane went down over the ocean. I envisioned it as my personal parachute. Yikes! Was I really that naive?
I was in my forties when I went to Hong Kong and Japan. My travel lesson really began there. I learned how to be the minority; I learned that I don’t need language to communicate; I learned that it is better to know a few words of the language before I arrive in a country; I learned that once I have experienced another culture it is hard to denigrate an entire people.
You are so young and you already know many of these things. You’ve been to New York, France, Mexico, Thailand, Africa, and the list goes on. I hope that you make a true connection in each place you visit. I hope you remember a smile, a word, a view, a flower, the feel of a breeze.
Leave a part of yourself when you travel. And bring a part of each destination home with you. Cross borders and boundaries. Be open to adventure and greedy for experiences.
Live it up and fly away…
I miss you, but I’m glad for you, too.