It’s been almost a month since I last wrote and I am in a bit of withdrawal. I have loved writing and sharing our experiences with all of you. Thanks for coming along for the ride.
When we were first planning our travels, I didn’t think about the aftermath of the trip. I knew traveling would affect me, but I didn’t know how deeply. Yet everyday, the experiences we’ve had continue to echo throughout our lives. Before we left, we thought of moving. Now, our home feels like a castle. Luna keeps telling us that she wishes it were even smaller because she loves being so connected to us.
I recently saw a TED talk that Rick Steves did on the Value of Travel. He discussed quite candidly how as Americans, we are raised to think that the world is a pyramid and the USA is right on the top. He explained how incorrect this viewpoint is, and how our ethnocentricity will get us nowhere. Just as there is the “American Dream” there is also the “Thai Dream” and the “Sri Lankan Dream.” People all over the world are seeking love, shelter and security in different ways through various cultural lenses. Perhaps the most important thing to come out of this trip for me was realizing how much I value people to people connections. Whether I’m traveling, or at home, my favorite thing is connecting with people.
When we arrived home on the 20th of December, our dear friend Jason, gave us such a sweet surprise by meeting us at the airport. We all cried. We were so ready to be home, back with our community, back to some sense of familiarity with our surroundings. Walking into our home felt like a dream. I’d never traveled long enough before that I actually wanted to come home, until now. As we laid in our bed that first night, it felt unreal.
I will never regret this adventure. The time our family spent together forged deeper bonds than we had, and as Josh says, “the one thing you can never buy more of is time.” As Luna continues to change and grow so quickly, I am so deeply grateful for the moments that we spent side by side, hand in hand, meeting pandas, elephants and human friends along the way. I am thankful for my life in new ways. I am grateful for things I once took for granted- like clean water, sanitation, healthy food, fresh produce, safety, infrastructure and efficiency.
Hanukkah, Christmas, and family visits to Nashville went by in a flash. Soon enough, Josh was back writing 5 days a week and Luna was in school again. There are moments now, when the trip feels like a dream. Yet, the memories are embedded within us now, so deeply affecting us on a daily basis that we are forever changed, and I like it.
When we were in Sri Lanka, we saw a hand made table embedded with this quote in it from Henry Rollins. I think it’s fitting to share
“I beg young people to travel. If you don’t have a passport, get one. Take a summer, get a backpack and go to Delhi, go to Saigon, go to Bangkok, go to Kenya. Have your mind blown. Eat interesting food. Dig some interesting people. Have an adventure. Be careful. Come back and you’re going to see your country differently, you’re going to see your president differently, no matter who it is. Music, culture, food, water. Your showers will become shorter. You’re going to get a sense of what globalization looks like. It’s not what Tom Friedman writes about; I’m sorry. You’re going to see that global climate change is very real. And that for some people, their day consists of walking 12 miles for four buckets of water. And so there are lessons that you can’t get out of a book that are waiting for you at the other end of that flight. A lot of people—Americans and Europeans—come back and go, ohhhhh. And the light bulb goes on.”
Travel will change and challenge your basic truths. It can bring joy as well as frustration. Seeing people so different from us, dealing with very similar issues in life brings everything together for me. Fear of the world is for people who don’t get out very much. This world is good, and is always striving to be better. The people I meet while traveling always remind me of the good of humanity. Reach beyond yourself, let fear go and jump in, just don’t drink the water.
Love to all of you,