Stepping out of our comfort zones to travel around the world and see/experience how others live, certainly comes with a whole bunch of learning and growth. So what did we learn? Here’s a download:
We are all connected. What happens in one part of the world, affects other people and places, both near and far. Philanthropy…Social responsibility...Climate change...Corruption...we (meaning the global we) are not just affecting ourselves, but our actions have long-term and far-reaching consequences, for both good and not-so-good.
Having said that, people are generally good and want to help. We met so many people along the way that contributed to our experience, from hosts sharing food and friendship or new acquaintances giving us advice on where to go or locals helping to keep us safe; we were blown away by all the thoughtfulness and generosity we encountered. You might think it requires a lot of planning to travel, but we found we could show up to a place and pretty quickly get a good download of where to go and what to do. I’d suggest to book your plane ticket (or other means of transportation) and a place to stay for at least 1-2 days; and the rest you can pretty much determine as you go.
How fortunate we are to have the freedom and resources to be able to travel! Some people in other countries aren’t as fortunate. It makes us grateful to have the luck to be born in a country where we are afforded certain privileges/luxuries/opportunities.
Political divisiveness and corruption isn’t just something Americans complain about. We thought everyone would be asking us about our current political situation, but it turns out that many people, in most places are unhappy with their government. The source of corruption is usually power, or the desire to have it.
There is so much power in community. Not only does it make us happy and healthy to be part of a community, but it also keeps us safer and allows us to be more productive when we can work together and support one another. I was so surprised to find that many stores are closed on the weekends in other countries. You’d think that’d be the best time for business when many people are off work and have the time to shop. I feel like that’s a part of American culture. However, in other countries, the weekends are for enjoying family and friends. Shopkeepers, who have been open all week serving their community, want this time for themselves too, to be able to rest and enjoy their lives with those they love.
It’s cliche, but worth repeating that life is about the journey and not the destination. Life is short and can end at any moment, so why save our happiness for some far off time in the future, when we can enjoy the splendors, big and small, of today, and of this moment. You can wait for retirement to start doing the things you love, but that assumes you will be alive and physically/mentally/financially/emotionally healthy enough to do it. Do you know that for sure? Can you predict with certainty what the future has in store? And why should we suffer every day making it through life when we can instead choose to design a life that helps us be able to enjoy every day, while also taking good care of ourselves and those around us.
We all have the power to make our dreams come true! If you would have told me years ago that I could leave my job and life in New York and find extra money to travel the world for a year+, I might have thought you were crazy. We did it...David and I made that happen. If you really want something strongly, you can/will find a way to make it happen. Little by little, with a strong desire and a good plan, you can take the actions that will lead you to where you want to go in life.
And, finally, David would really like to emphasize that you should always eat at places with a line to avoid getting sick. :)
So with that, my friends, go forth and be inspired. If you have any questions left for me, please feel free to reach out.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!