Uniting Through Travel
Waking up at the crack of dawn, double checking, then triple checking that you have not left anything in your hostel. Throwing on your oversized backpack and exiting your cozy place of stay into the unfamiliar, yet exhilarating street of a foreign town. Passing through markets wafting with aromas of sweet oranges, and walking alongside vendors selling herbs and olives freshly picked from the hillside of a neighboring town. The scent of burning wood wafting through the air. A thick warmth envelops the sleepy, iced over village, as its inhabitants wake to start their day.
Yet you, are just the observer. You get to see, hear, and taste a little bit of these individuals’ lives. You get a glimpse of what their realities hold in store for them, but that is all, just a glimpse. And then, it’s back onto the train you go. Hopping onto the strips of track that connect, yet at the same time distance you from the experiences you have just witnessed. Where you become attached to seeing the word through a new pair of eyes, for just as long as you remain on those cobblestone streets.
But through these encounters, you have gained something. No matter how quick, or insignificant they have seemed. You have gained the wonder of viewing snow capped mountains glisten, in the light of golden rays peeking through misty clouds. You have gained a smile from a woman who gave you directions to the nearest bus top. You have gained the thrill of being lost, and lost, and lost again, growing more and more comfortable with the prospect of existing in the midst of a directionless path. You have learned that the individual sitting on the park bench, reading the local newspaper, holds within the same desire to feel a sense of connection to the world. Whether they acquire that sense of belonging through the newspaper, their family, or maybe even their job, the desires you two hold deep within, are shared. And you have learned that though languages, upbringings, and perspectives of what “life is supposed to look like” may at first appear worlds apart, one simple hello can bring such seemingly distant worlds together. Where the joy that lights up in another’s eyes as you connect over a similar feeling, cuts through any barricade you thought separated the two of you.
Traveling teaches you that no matter where you are in the world, whether in the comfort of your childhood home, or on a train traversing the mediterranean, the humans you pass in the street, or sit next to on a train, all hold within the same feelings of hope, fear, love, sorrow, etc. Traveling teaches you that though your worlds may appear so far apart on the outside, with different languages, places of work, and levels of education, we all hold within the same core feelings, even if we have experienced them in different ways. So when we think we are separate from the one we stand next to on the subway, what we’re nervous about, they may be nervous about too, just in a different context. And when we feel the highs and lows of life we have to remember that so is our neighbor, whether in the house next door, or the country across the ocean. And whatever we feel that separates us from one another, is just a tiny sliver of a single perspective. Yet I’m sure if we saw our lives from above, all of our triumphs and and trials would essentially look the same. So on behalf of Gabi’s call to action on helping each other not just ourselves, I too would like to promote this through my journey this year. We have come up with #theyearofwe, to push us to remember that we are never alone, even when our perspective on a matter tries to tell us otherwise. We have to remember to look out for each other, because what we think are walls between us, may actually just be veils. Because if we don’t ever try to look, we’ll never see.
We all fundamentally experience the same emotions, whether we show this to one another or not. Instead of seeing our lives as separated by the degree to which we have experienced certain aspects of emotions and life, we should look at the triumphs and trials as learned wisdom we can share with one another. For we all are growing along our paths, and every unique experience and perspective is what we should use to unite ourselves, and not separate us. So to that, cheers to #theyearofwe ! :)