It used to be that everything I saw abroad was glorified by being new and different. This glamour is evaporating. I have had the honour of travelling so much that places on opposite sides of the earth are beginning to look the same. What happens when that travel spell dissipates? Life becomes life no matter where you are. People are just people. I have a continuously solidifying perspective of a uniform world; something I believe to be crucial to the mind of a change-maker.
On a personal level, I think that my life-long quest to grow my character is best served by seeing and living in all corners of our planet. I have had ample time to reflect on my past week. It has been the hardest one yet. Out of my recent experiences is an emerging sense of rejuvenated confidence in the path I’m choosing to construct for myself. I travel because I would rather know all shades of life than none of them. I was reliving some of my adventures recently:
I’ve accidentally swam with 200 sharks -only feet from me- off the coast of Ecuador. I’ve climbed to the top of a mountain in Scotland’s Isle of Skye, in absolute awe at my magical and untouched surroundings. I’ve strolled through the cobblestoned streets in Bruges, Belgium eating chocolates until my stomach hurt. I’ve held mint leaves under my nose as I wandered around the tannery district in Marrakech, Morocco. I have meditated nude on top of mountains with friends from a nearby commune and I have slept in an Irish barn and worked for my food by shovelling potatoes.
I have met strangers who tell be about their weeks left to live. I’ve covered the ears of a three year old girl as her care takers howl at the loss of her HIV-positive sister in the room next door. I have seen sick people, dead people, dying children. I have been violated by a man unfamiliar to me and been helpless in the face of physical violence done to women whom I befriend.
I have felt the presence of Allah in mosques around the world. I have been brought to tears by the power of ceremonies in Hindu temples. I have sang my heart out in township churches.
Am I running around in search of something I’ll never find? I don’t think so. I find it wherever I go. I find growth and I find beauty. I just know there is always more to find.
This week has been rough. The urge to hide visits me frequently these days. I could choose to live the quiet and well -tempered existence that I was born into. I could use my privilege to avoid the dark side of human existence. But I won’t.
Life is ugly and beautiful all at once and I don’t know what to do about it. I do know that I will spend my life reviving my youthful idealism and dragging it around with me as I attempt to find out.
Some photos of this amazing place: