I believe in exploration of any kind. Discovery can be waking up at dawn to stand out in the mist and the moon of your own front yard or traveling to Zanzibar, waking to melodic sounds of prayers, in Arabic. With exploration, your routine is gone, your mind opens up and your senses stand at alert. Whether you are riding a public bus for the first time or traveling through the rainforest, you often need to depend and trust upon strangers to help you, advise you, or even protect you. It can be an anxious feeling depending on a stranger, until you discover that the stranger is part of your experience—his talent, his views, his approach to doing things, background, and often most importantly, his kindness. I’ve become very grateful for having these people in my life, if only for a short time. It often takes time and effort to travel and explore but sometimes, it happens in an instant without warning—both experiences act on you; the knowledge, the people, and memories stay with you forever and help shape your character and your view of the world.
Speaking with people, traveling and exploring helps me learn about people, the different ways people live their lives, and the person I want to be. I have had the opportunity to travel overseas and see first hand how other people live. My travels have taken me to the developing world in Africa and Central America. One of the things that made an impression on me was that even though the people I met were poor, and had few possessions, they still had the same rhythm of life as we do. They go to school, their parents work, they celebrate birthdays, they like to play in the surf and laugh at jokes. They were able to enjoy life without the things we feel we need to enjoy life. It was a real eye opener for me. Even closer to home, I discover people living lives so different than myself. For example, I went to the Big Apple Circus the other evening. After the show my friends and I spoke to two brothers, Nico and Giovanni, performers with the circus. Nico was in 11th grade, just a year older than I am. He is tutored 3 hours a day, practices, and performs in the U.S. and Europe. He lives a very different life from mine and he loves what he does even though he knows he will not do it forever. There are so many choices and opportunities that it takes time just to discover your options. It is this exploration, be it travel, reading books, or just plain talking to people from different walks of life that enables you to grow as a person and help you make choices that can leave to a fulfilling life.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.