This I Believe

Emily - New Brighton, Minnesota
Entered on October 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Every American Needs to Leave This Country At Least Once

America is the land of abundance. Actually, more like overabundance! I am not complaining since as an American I am very lucky to have grown up in such a country, but I believe that a lot of Americans don’t realize how lucky they actually are. I believe all Americans need to travel outside the country at least once in their lives. A lot of Americans are ignorant when it comes to major world issues such as hunger, poverty, and suffering. They know there is a difference, but they fail to understand the degree at which it stands. I don’t want to point fingers because I was the same way. I had never gone out of the country, and when I did the experience changed my look at our American culture.

I joined a Christian group called youth with a mission (YWAM) a few years ago. The base was in Australia which didn’t propose too much difference then America. However, during part of this trip I did spend five weeks in Thailand. I could not believe the lifestyle people lived. Hunger and poverty flooded most parts of this beautiful country. Slums were my team brought bags of food to were heart wrenching. Families that went for days with little or no food, and the meal portions were surprising. You wondered how someone could physically live on such little food. I started to think back on how I would scarf down a cheeseburger meal as I rushed to work, eating more than I was hungry for. These people could take that same meal and feed their entire family! I started to think about how much waste in food goes on in America. I was a server at the Olive Garden and it never fazed my before as I scraped entrees that had only a bite out of them into the garbage. Now I am sickened by how frivolous Americans are with all resources. Wanting so much stuff that is mostly all wants, and not needs. It is such a different life here than in other countries.

I am almost embarrassed when I know people are immigrating over here and see how wasteful Americans can be. I am not saying that having abundance is wrong. It’s just that if Americans could leave this bubble of comforts and see how different it is in other countries, maybe we could change in a way that may not be so self seeking. Maybe if everyone left the country at least once, they could appreciate our country that much more. I believe this because it changed how I viewed our country, and it helped me to appreciate what I do have and being satisfied. I now realize how lucky I am to be born in this country, and I hope I don’t loose this sense of appreciation for what I do have. I am happier now because I am satisfied with what I do have. I still want things, but at least I can prioritize them appropriately. If you are an American try to leave this great country at least once in your life. I believe it will significantly change how you view your own material positions, and it will help you become more satisfied with what you do have instead of always wanting more.