Part of me really likes to have some roots; not too deep but a place that feels like home when the sun goes down each night. An equal part of me knows the intrinsic value of travel and exploration to broaden and deepen one’s outlook on the world and expand tolerances so my roots rarely grow very deeply. Planting one’s self, like a tree, in one location for an entire lifetime, without experiencing other cultures just seems wrong.
It is certainly true that travel takes both time and money but travel within the U.S. can be done in an adventurous and economical manner if one is committed to the effort. International travel is also possible on a budget. Airplane tickets can be purchased on special sales and there are often discounts offered. Hotels? No need! How ‘bout a free place to stay wherever you go? www.couchsurfing.org is a great option! I have used it myself.
One needn’t travel across an ocean to experience cultural differences and expand your experiences. Within the confines of the good ‘ole U.S.A. there are plenty of differences in culture from region to region. Unfortunately, there are some who travel and fail to gain the many rich lessons offered by exposure to other cultures, regional or International. As humans, we are quite fond of our own views and must often stretch beyond our personal comfort to even consider ideas from an “outsider”. That said, it seems like the smaller we restrict our world, the more intolerant of other lifestyles and cultures we become.
Some years ago (like 30 or more), after selling a successful business in Alaska, we bailed out for a year and just traveled. By that time, I had already seen a slice of the world courtesy of Uncle Sam and had a taste for travel but there was much of the United States I had not yet seen.
With the exception of a couple of detours south into Mexico and north into Canada, our sojourn had kept us within the geographic boundaries of the United States. During our travels, I found that I needed the comfort of having a home. At the end of each day, stopping and setting up in some camper park would always provide that sense of home for me. Regardless of where we were, when I walked inside our camper, it was familiar. It was home; a home that I could drag around… with very shallow roots. Perfect!
Our recent move from Ecuador to Mexico has found us with two temporary homes in Mexico for the moment. I say temporary because Diane and I have yet to make a decision as to where we want to plant ourselves for our next chapter. Mexico is a very large country and much like the United States, we are discovering the wonderful cultural differences from region to region
One’s sense of “normal” is gained through the microcosm in which we each live. The smaller one’s world and the less exposure one has to influences beyond their daily routine, the more restrictive one’s views must be.
A brief update on our experiences here in Mexico. Car purchased and registered. Permanent resident cards in hand. Two separate groups of visitors already on the calendar, the first arriving next week. Funny how having a place in Cancun attracts friends from all corners of the planet.
Oh, before I go…I was recently interviewed by Senior Planet. Here is a link to that interview which was published today.
Because Diane is not yet a senior (hell…she’s not yet 50) she received only minimal mention. I had to chuckle when the reporter contacted me to explain their policy. J
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