Let's Learn to Travel Differently
What is travel?
If we asked that question we might get quite a few different responses.
Some picture travel as the all-inclusive resort with a pool, bar, palm trees, and no schedule.
Others think of the drudgery of a work related, time crunching, exhausting ordeal that’s mandatory for their job.
While still others think of it with a backpack, water bottle, hiking boots, and a zillion stars.
An alternate way to view travel
Whatever your view, we’d like you to think of travel on an even deeper level:
Travel isn’t so much about you and your environment as it is about others and their environment.
Huh? What’s that you say?
Travel is all about me!…relaxing, seeing new things, tasting new foods, getting pampered here and there, and not going to work.
Well, yes, we do like to have those things involved too but we’d like to inspire a different thought about travel.
It is so much better experienced when we dive into others’ lives; their food, their language, their culture, their traditions, and their land and its landscapes.
It’s trying to understand and live like them for the time you have with them. It’s growing personally as you seek to understand a different way of life in a different part of this beautifully diverse globe.
Our sometimes one-sided, comfortable view
On a recent trip to Panama a fellow traveler stated that she really liked the particular city we were exploring for a few days.
When asked why, she responded with “there are a lot of northerners and northern influence so I feel more at home and don’t have to struggle with the language so much.”
Okay, it did make things more comfortable and a lot less stressful communicating for those of us non-Spanish speaking women. Agreed.
All in favor of ease of travel and communication say “I”. That would be a resounding “I!” (Including us!)
On the other hand, isn’t travel also about experiencing new cultures, languages, and customs that educate us and cause our worldview to grow and expand?
We think that’s a great thing too!
The humbling reminder of our differences
On that same trip to Panama we spent time walking the fertile volcanic coffee region with two native Panamanians (yes, they were speaking English to us…yay!). We were struck with the incredibly difficult and physically demanding life these people lived.
The two men were describing the lifestyle of almost all of the Panamanians in the region as we saw numerous dark skinned and rather scrubby looking men, women, and children both walking and driving out from the brush and trees. Some of the children had to be no more than 8 years old.
It was early in the evening and they were filing out after putting backbreaking hours in all day hand picking every individual coffee cherry. Yes, even the children.
As we said “Buenos Dias” to these rather ragged looking bunches of people, our minds were opened to what it meant for us to have that quick and easy cup of coffee ready in the morning.
It was rather humbling.
Pop the Keurig cup in the basket and wait a minute. Presto! We have hot coffee in our mug for under a dollar a cup.
How many handpicked coffee cherries go into every wonderfully savory cup of coffee we drink?
These were the hands that toiled long hours every day for our easy peasy cup of joe every morning…and they make measly amounts of money doing it.
There we were, humbled, growing, expanding our worldview, and beginning to understand others’ lives and how they interconnect with ours.
A changed perspective allows us to soak in the culture
As you pack your bags for the next adventure, will you challenge yourself to think of travel in maybe a different light?
Will you jump on board to grow with us and see travel as the opportunity to learn and appreciate others and their cultures (along with just plain having a blast together as crazy adventurous women!)?
The joys and revelations that come from learning and appreciating other ways of life are innumerable.
We’ll be challenging ourselves right along with you to think more along the lines of others instead of ourselves as we grow together on our upcoming Women on the GrOw trips.
Let’s start packing!