Mind blowing travel

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

Traveling to a country where you are a minority and look different, is humbling and builds empathy for other cultures and ethnicities. Walking into a restaurant and being the odd man out before you even open your mouth will make you more welcoming to strangers who stand out in a crowd.

Traveling through a foreign country that has a different religion and customs will teach you that the sun doesn’t revolve around your home country and that other cultures and races are getting on with life just fine without you. You realize there’s not only one way to live.

Be curious, be humble, be open-minded. Travel fuels your creativity and makes you a better global citizen.

Scratch the itch

Sometimes in life, you’ve got to scratch that itch. Maybe it’s buying an old camper van you’ve always wanted. Perhaps it’s trying a new career, starting a company, living in New York City, making a road trip across the country, writing a book. Scratching that itch may lead to a significant life change, but it’s also may help you lay the ghost and satisfy you. You might love the old camper van, or you might find it’s a real schlepp to maintain, or that a flat battery on a rainy Tuesday morning really sucks. You might see that there are some really long dull spots in a cross-country trip and next time you’d be better off fliying.

Scratch the itch, it’ll satisfy you no matter what the outcome.

Turn up

Sometimes in life, you gotta turn up. By turn up, I don’t mean sending thoughts and prayers, flowers or money. I mean physically turn up and be there. Sometimes it’s to celebrate or grieve, sometimes it’s pre-emptive, and sometimes it’s to volunteer. I saw a lot if this happening during the Sonoma fire relief and support. Nurses, doctors, firefighters, chefs, therapists all turned up and offered a hand to people who had lost everything. At one stage people were being turned away before there were too many people to help.

When in doubt – be there. Most of the time you’ll regret not going. But you’ll never regret being there.

New and old friends

The magical thing that I’ve discovered about immigrating is that new friends become family. Especially new friends with the shared experience of migrating and starting over from nothing. The flip side is that new friends are different to old friends. Old friends have decades of context and the shared experience of growing up together.

I think that’s why siblings fill that void for a lot of immigrant families. The bond I share with my siblings is that we held each other’s hands and jumped into the unknown together. Taking our past with us while embracing the new unknown.

God’s temples

We went walking through the Redwoods last weekend. It’s not surprising that certain groves of trees have been revered as sacred all over world since the beginning of time. They seem to be gateways to the unseen world around us.

The groves were God’s first temples. – William Cullen Bryant, A Forest Hymn