I have made international travel a part of my life since I was 19. It started with “Spring Break” (not the ~girls gone wild kind~ …oh…ok it was) in Bermuda. As the plane left the airport on our return to Boston, I looked out the window and saw the turquoise waters, in differing hues fade slowly from sight as we ascended into the clouds. My thoughts were: travel is going to be a huge part of my life forever.
A 6 month backpacking trip to Europe, Greece and Israel in my early 20’s followed, with trips over the years back to Europe, the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa. I just returned from 2 weeks in China.
What does it say about the Swiss, whose streets you could eat lunch off of, or the Chinese
who think traffic signals are merely “suggestions” but where it is illegal to own guns and there is virtually no violent crime? Or the Italian culture where mom, dad, kids, grandparents and great grandparents are together on week-ends sharing a meal? Or a poor Berber in Morocco who would welcome a stranger into his home with open arms and offer them mint tea when they had little else?
I loved every place I have been, because I took my cultural “eyes” and left them at home. I “saw” people through different lenses.
I will make a confession: I don’t like sightseeing. You may be shocked to hear this. “Than why in the heck do you travel”? you may be thinking.
I travel because it makes me a happier, more grounded individual. I return from a trip with an appreciation of what freedom means, especially to a woman. I travel to witness a culture completely different than mine with language and food I may know nothing about. I observe the differences in shops, café’s and traffic and get insight into the psyche of a culture. I am more empathetic, content and open-minded. I can be friends (or feel comfortable with clients) who have diverse backgrounds and who think differently. I appreciate my country in a more profound way and try not to “knit-pick” our political process and legal system.
So next time you are thinking of going to a Therapist, save the money for a trip to a foreign country. You might just get a whole lot more out of it.