People travel to wonder at the height of mountains,
At the huge waves of the sea,
At the long courses of rivers,
At the circular motion of the stars,
And they pass themselves by without wondering.
I had a student desk in my childhood bedroom with a huge map of the world on its surface. I would spend hours looking at the many exotic and mysterious names of countries near and far wondering what life is like for people who live in such amazing places.
I imagined life would be so different for other people and enjoyed picturing myself visiting tropical islands in the Pacific or treking through deep jungles and sandy deserts in Africa.
The travel bug hits so many of us early in life and while I’ve enjoyed some adventures and explorations in other countries it was while actually living in another country that I came to see how much we all have in common as human beings. I spent time being a mum with other mothers, being a friend, being a co-worker with people from all over the world. I learnt so much about myself along the way as I observed, listened and absorbed the stories of others.
I wonder if the way we westerners tend to ‘do travel’ actually changes us, or do we merely stay in our protective bubble passing through other cultures and places relatively untouched. We rarely stay long enough to form connections, create meaning and be genuinely impacted by the beauty of listening to and learning from other people. Our style of travel is a whirlwind, whistlestop, leap out for the quick photo op and hastily jump back on board for the next highlight.
In effect I believe how we travel is, for the most part, is also how we tend to do life. And that’s what the quote is all about.
It takes an intentional pause, a mindful noticing, an honest and open questioning, a moment of vulnerability to form meaningful connection with others. Only then, do we discover something about ourselves, something of our shared multi-faceted humanity.
Enjoy your travels, local and overseas when the time allows. Take time in the busy jam packed itinerary to occasionally pause and listen for the questions that will come to expand your awareness of yourself and others.
We are all in this together.