There is just something special about traveling. What it is exactly I am not sure, I find 'it' to be a number of things. I do know that the more time I spend away and in the places I visit the more I learn and grow. Also, the more I appreciate life, my life, and all that goes with being and living in the beautiful Bay Area and the U.S.
I will be the first to say that the U.S. is by no means the perfect place or maybe even the best place to live. I have spent ample time in Europe and could find a number of great and attractive aspects of the European Lifestyle. I have yet to visit Australia or New Zealand but I am certain I will find a number of reasons to move and spend my life in these countries.
I will not eliminate the possibility of living abroad for a time in my life. In fact I am working on obtaining my Italian Passport and citizenship for that reason alone. With the passport I will have full access to the E.U. and be able to work and live freely in these countries. Options sure in the heck do not hurt when we live in this small place we called planet earth.
When you travel you realize just how close all the borders of the world are indeed and how dependent the world is upon all the world. I cannot deny that the U.S. is indeed dependent on other countries and vice versa throughout the world. Just take a peek at the tags in your clothes, the items in your grocery store, parts of your car, etc. and this is true everywhere.
Therefore when I travel I get an even deeper understanding how important it is that other countries and peoples of these lands have the opportunity to live the best live possible. As always there are many reasons why parts of the world 'suffer' but even in their suffering the do find a sense of refuge or at least many do.
However, while spending time in Central America it was hard not to notice how their 'modern' day societies and truly in fact 3rd world in the truest since. The amount of pollution, the bars on all the windows, the time roofs, pot marked walls of houses and in some cases garbage bags for walls, the pure dirt and trash covering the ground and just imagine, well this is hard to do because not even some of the worst neighbors I have witnessed in the U.S. compare to anything these people live in.
What we may fail to recognize is that the pollution and lack of sewage system and the fact that many have no toilet but instead piss and sh*t in the fields of crops, yes the same crops we in turn import and sell here is the effects it has on us. Just think, the water in beautiful Lake Nicaragua, which is contaminated by the sewage system of all the cities and towns that line its coast (and believe me this lake is bigger that Tahoe by a long shot) is then feed to the crops that feed the people of Nicaragua and other countries including ours. In fact, the US has expressed their concern and is in the process of working with the people of Nicaragua on developing a sewage system and a way to clean/protect the lake.
See, it is these type of experiences that truly ring home for me and make me realize that I am indeed a citizen of the world and I have to do my part to help keep this place, planet earth alive and healthy. I have to share my story, my eye witness accounts of these lands and hope in doing so it inspires people to act in some way, whether for themselves, their community or the community at large.
If you do not think or believe that you are a citizen of the world, open your mind, open your eyes and take a look around you. Think of the people that fill the borders of the US, where are they from originally, where do their families come from? I would be hard pressed to say I know one person who is truly a native to this land. Most people I know are 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation which means their origins are elsewhere. In fact, we all come for this place planet earth.
So, I thank all of you whom participate in my life, I appreciate your contributions for helping me to be the best I can be and put the best foot forward. Like all those I have meet, seen, etc. abroad it is a collection of all you people and these experiences that make this such a beautiful life, full of life.
Traveling abroad & spending time in places that you would otherwise may never do so; interacting with Mayans who still live a traditional life; saying hi to a stranger in a foreign land who is curious to who you are and what you are doing in their land (in many places they do not see travelers); talking to a young kid who is peddling things for money, food, etc.; Speaking 'their' language (or at least trying) all makes the experience and truly has the ability to transform.
Life for me is not about personal bests, being wealthy, having a job title, driving a BMW, owning a mansion, having a white picket fence, instead life is about living, smiling, loving, sharing, being, and enjoying each moment.