I have so much rolling around in my brain right now that it is honestly hard to sort it all out. Sometimes when this happens the best thing to do is just write it out. I am a big believer that blogs should be mostly pictures and silly fun things. Remember my very first post about how my blog would in no way ever become an online journal/diary.....well, maybe I lied just a little bit. Enjoy what's rolling around in my little old head right now, or don't, and wait for some more pictures!
A very wise and dear person in my life asked me awhile ago if I ever thought about the opportunities that have been brought into my life through all the travel I have done. Have I ever thought that there is maybe a purpose for all the life experiences that I have had through exploring the world. I really enjoyed this question, because up until the moment she asked it, I was just planning trips and going along for the ride. Not ever thinking about why I do it, or if there has ever been a reason. Or am I just a free spirit with an itch for adventure? Sure, of course I was learning about new cultures and new people, new customs, ect. But was I really thinking about how all of my travel could affect me or the people around me after the trip. Or should I be taking less selfish trips in the furture, and start doing humanitarian trips and serve others?
I have read a lot of travel magazines, books, and memoirs from kindred travelers. One thing that I love to read is how traveling opens our eyes to things unfamiliar to us and teaches us so much that we could never learn in a book or read in a magazine. Traveling can make us more open minded, or perhaps closed off. It can make us drop stereotypes that we once formed about a culture. I find that almost everywhere I have ever been I end up falling in the love with the whole country.
As I just recently traveled through Asia I learned so much about people and human nature that I just can't re-tell in a way to fully give you the same feelings and emotions that I felt being there. When I told a friend of mine who had been to India that I was traveling there the first thing she said was, "Leslie, I can't really describe India. It's just something you have to experience." And yes my friends that is an absolutely true statement. Multiply times during the trip Caroline and I would see something and just look at each other and say, "How do you explain that. How do you even tell people and have them believe that this is actually happening."
I am humbled by the kindness and love that poured out of people in India who were with almost nothing. The Adam Chew's of Malaysia. The smiles on the peoples faces in Thailand. The constant concern about how we "felt" in Vietnam. The old man on the subway in Hong Kong, and the reaction I received from those around me as I stood up to give him my seat. These are moments and emotions that will stick with me forever. Sure these countries have shady sides and a seedy under belly, everywhere does, but there is so much goodness and vibrancy out there. I find that the culture, and customs, and nature, and clothes, food, and all the things that define a place and make them there own are all fun. But what I remember in each place are the people. The small interactions I had with the children in India or a tour guide in Peru who told us where church was on Sunday.
So in conclusion to my random thoughts about travel. I find that if anything, the purpose of all the travel in my life is to hopefully make me a more understanding, loving, and less judgmental person. And to teach me that the world is much smaller then we think. Although these are all things that I am constantley trying to work on, I hope that the more I see, and the more I live the more I become a reflection of the goodness I see in the people of the world.