Within our differences we find room to grow.
I was once asked about my travels in a scholarship interview; did I think people were more alike, or different, around the world. My response was ‘Very much alike. We all have the same basic needs; food, shelter, family.’
The more I think about this concept of inalienable needs and identities; there more I believe that each and every country is the perfect home. I believe that when one travels, the goal should be to discover something new in hat culture, and ultimately render this difference beautiful. Concepts that once may have been strange will swiftly turn into something wonderful after some understanding.
After traveling to India, I had gained a new perspective of arranged marriages, and started appreciating that culture. In Dubai, I loved morning prayers and certain Islamic traditions. In Kenya, the happy culture of handshakes and life-enthusiasm is a reflection of people’s attitudes. On the street, a white person is constantly being greeted. At first, one is skeptical because you might think that all these strangers want to make friends with you, and ultimately benefit through you. But after a while, you begin to see the same openness in the business culture, and between African strangers.
Consider a funeral in Kenya for instance. A blend of weeping relatives walk together with cheering and dancing friends, dressed in bright colors, and smiling happily. Grief is part of death, certainly, but as is the appreciation that the loved one had been with us. That appreciation is expressed with joy, despite the pain people feel.
Whichever the reason we travel, the beauty our planet has to offer is limitless. It is between our differences that we find room to grow and appreciate. Never mind the few days off at the beach resort, that’s a vacation. Travel though, is like a mirror in which we can see ourselves in different colors and different backgrounds, and we get to find the angle that we like best. I have traveled the world forward and backwards, and yet I think that I still underestimate the power, and beauty, of exploring cultures.