Having a million miles under our belt doesn’t make us conscientious travelers. Having been to all the continents doesn’t prove us worthy of everyone’s company. Just because we’ve braved a couple of mountains, it doesn’t grant us immunity from humanity on the ground.
Many of us have learned that we can travel to great places without physically moving a single foot — and this may well hold greater potential for growth than those who have endless frequent flyer miles in their preferred flyer account.
The insights and wisdom that we’re granted on the road follows each of us who have made occasion to take a personally challenging journey. So it goes without saying that these experiences remain with us throughout our periods of rest away from the trail.
As we travel we’re undoubtedly thrust into other peoples’ worlds. This never fails to offer each of us the opportunity of learning a new way of life for others. Taking advantage of these situations should therefore include being a part of these peoples’ lives as much as they will allow us.
Sitting on a bus surrounded by locals is not just a way to get from point A to point B. Eating at a roadside restaurant with only the cook and a dusty road for company is never just a time to replenish the food stores. And passing natives as we trek through their foreign lands is not limited to simply staying focused on the road underfoot.
These are times when we can engage the people whose country we’re enjoying. Sharing of ourselves not only invites others to do so as well, but also forms a pattern of being open to receiving that which others are eager to share. And keeping this mentality at the forefront of our travels will do countless amounts of good in forming the larger pattern of embracing others when our trek is over.
This way of thinking not only affords us the highlights of traveling and sharing more intimate connections with the amazing people of this world, it also brings more of our experience back with us and in a more profound way.
Think about taking one of two vacations: One will find you on a beautiful beach, lounging around in the sun; on the other, you get to go camping with a local tribe in the hills of wherever. Which one would you choose?
Before you answer think about this: We can probably pretty quickly think of large a body of water in our home country. We can even catch a sun tan on our balcony back home. But we’ll likely never get another chance at getting an insider’s peak at an amazing and mysterious culture that awaits within that hill tribe.
Why not use your time abroad to have a deeper experience with those who know their country best? Share of yourself and also invite others in. Create an environment of open and embracing exchange. And not only will you feel more fulfilled by your time traveling, those who shared it with you will come to know that much more about your culture as well.
Like this photo from this journal? Check out the album HERE.
My new book, Insights from the Pavement, is a collection of 101 Travel Oms just like this one. Look for it to be released soon.
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