This I Believe

Emilie - Orlando, Florida
Entered on June 12, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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This I believe…

“Eyes are the windows to our souls”…based on that, I believe, “Travel is the hand that opens the window for our souls to see”.

In Nepal, I learned villages in the Himalayas are connected by stone stairways that are built by women of each village. In Slovenia you have to find a Key Master to let you into each Church. This may seem difficult, but you would be surprised how easy and enjoyable the search for the key is. As I walked along the countryside in Italy, I met various people who greeted me with smiles. When I opened a map in Singapore, I looked up to find no less than 3 Singaporians offering me assistance. Throughout my travels, I have discovered and been introduced to wonderful people of all backgrounds, religions and races. I believe that the very experience of travel opens us up and once open we then become more aware of everything around us, and thus better human beings…I tend to visit places and look with awe at the culture and architecture but ironically once I return home, I seem to ignore all that surrounds me daily.

Returning from a trip, I wondered why I had no problem walking and exploring while I traveled yet once home, I felt obliged to hop in my car for the simplest errand, not noticing what was right in front of me. I decided to try to see my home through the eyes of a visitor.

I walked around my lake one early morning, eyes wide with anticipation of what I might see. I turned the corner to discover a gaggle of different birds congregating on my lake as if in a church service. They were all facing in one direction: towards the sunrise. There was complete silence among them as if the rising sun were a reverent minister speaking to them of the day to come. As soon as the sun was completely off the horizon, the birds started to chirp and quack and slowly as if rehearsed, they began to fly away in the order of their particular group. On my usual walk, I would have been preoccupied and not attentive. But I believe because I was walking with my eyes seeing anew, this unusual sight was revealed. My travels in my neighborhood continue to this day. Now I enjoy all the various characters that make up the wonderful place I live…whether it is watching the goose who has adopted a group of ducklings and protects them ferociously or the kids who use the big Oak Tree to propel themselves into our lake for a much needed dip…or maybe it’s the friendly waves and smiles I give and get from those I pass….

All I know is that I believe my traveling, whether it is to the Jungles of Cambodia or in my own neighborhood, have opened me up and taught me to experience and enjoy the wonderful humanity that envelopes each of us everyday.