We’ve been traveling for four weeks already and sometimes it shows.
We’re tired and have begun to miss home. Apart from our friends, our dog, and our pillows; we miss some very simple things such as the blast of cold air when you walk into the supermarket or drinking a truly cold soda.
There have been days when we’ve considered changing our tickets and heading home but then we remember why we’re here in the first place.
It’s not a vacation. Traveling fast like we’re doing is far from restful. We’re not even pretending to live like locals. As much as we use public transportation and eat street food, we have probably visited more of the sights than the locals have. That is kind of a universal axiom everywhere, we haven’t visited all the sights in our own town either.
We think of our travels more like a buffet. We’re trying out a little of many different cultures. We don’t delve deep into any, we simply don’t have the time; but by taking a small bite, we can figure out which intrigues us most and maybe come back for seconds later.
Many years ago, a friend asserted that the USA was the greatest country in the world. I asked him how he knew that was true. He grew inflamed because he didn’t understand that I wasn’t challenging his belief but rather asking if he had some knowledge to base his assertion on or was he parroting something he had been indoctrinated with since childhood. Don’t get me wrong, the USA is pretty nice but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t always do a little better. Learning how other countries are doing it gives us a chance to avoid mistakes already made by others and to copy what is working. I actually believe politicians ought to be requiered to live abroad for a while, call it “job training”, we might all benefit from it.
Furthermore, traveling without luxury opens the mind to finding the connection between us all. I’m full of prejudices and it’s only when I step out of my comfort zone that I become aware of them. I couldn’t do that at a resort while sipping Piña Coladas (nothing wrong with doing that every now and then though).
The world does not revolve around us but that’s not what the television tells us. How are we to learn better if not by getting out there and finding out?
Our travels are training on how to be good citizens of the world. We fail constantly, and then we keep trying. I guess you could say we’re earning those Piña Coladas.