The view from my desk today is out the back panoramic floor to ceiling windows of our ship the MS. Inspire. I’m looking over the Rhine River and up the bank onto a hill that could be a mountain where I’m from, there is a sun-splashed medieval looking cathedral glowing at me. Below the church is a path along the river where I spy a periodic walker or cyclist passing through. The beauty is surreal. Growing up in the flat cold and grey Toledo, OH it’s hard for me to comprehend that this view is someone’s everyday view.
Each day of this trip I’ve woken up filled with gratitude, gratitude to Christie for bringing me with her, gratitude for being on this ship and living the life I'm living. I almost always feel like that about my travel experiences, but I’ve felt particularly grateful to be a part of this Tauck Riverboat Cruise through the Rhine and Mosel rivers. As a child, travel was something I longed for. I would dream of the places I would see when I was older and the people that I could meet while traveling. Growing up in a lower-middle-class household I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to travel, the most extravagant trip I took as a child was hanging out with my family at a sparse cottage on Lake Huron in MI. Those cottage trips were so much fun and a huge gift from my parents to us when I was little, but they weren't the trips I longed for. It was hard for me to see past the way things were for my parents but I held the belief that if I could dream it I could make it happen. I believed in my ability to craft the life I wanted. I told myself that I would travel extensively when I was older. Because it was such an intense dream of mine to be a world traveler now not a day goes by that I don’t recognize that the life I’ve created, this life that allows me to travel and say yes to opportunity is a privilege and a gift.
Last night I posted a short update about this current amazing experience I’m having and how wonderful the people I’m meeting are. My friend Andra commented that “wherever you go and whoever you meet you always truly believe they are the most amazing people. Beautiful way to see life. Learning more and More that mindset it’s everything.”
Andra is right, I’m not only in awe of the places I’m seeing but I do believe that the people I’m meeting are absolutely beautiful and amazing inside and out. This is a mindset; it is is a choice for me to see the world this way. It doesn’t mean I don’t see the bad, but I emphasize the positive. This is always the mindset I try to travel and operate with. Especially because the more I travel, the more I realize we humans are all so much alike. From India to Germany, to Costa Rica to the United States people all seem to crave the same things. Love, and acceptance. After our basic needs are met each and every one of us wants to love and be loved in return. Love and acceptance is the universal need and desire that I can see visibly flowing out of the people I meet.
With rare exception, it’s hard for me not to see all the good intentions in people. I like to meet people where they are. Every now and again, I’ll feel a little repelled by someone when I travel (after all I am human). When I feel this way, I remind myself that whatever it is I see in them (good or bad) is purely a reflection or mirror of myself. Other people are great big, mirrors and traveling can reflect that back to me tenfold. If I see something I don't like or something that makes me uncomfortable, I like to ask myself questions and get curious about where those feelings are coming from. I question if it's fear, judgment, or jealousy. Then I try to make a conscious choice to see as much good in those I meet as I can, I think largly because I hope that they will do the same for me. I’m flawed as much as the next person, but in my own desire for love and acceptance, I hope that the people around me will focus on the good they see in me and not the flaws. This is my way of treating others the way that I want to be treated. In Travel getting outside of my normal routines, meeting a wide range of different people and having strange and foreign experiences gives me an opportunity to examine my own mindset and thoughts. I get to choose if I see beauty and love or if I see problems, fear, and judgment. Travel is a teacher showing me where I'm in or out of alignment with myself and how I can grow to see even more beauty in others.
Have you experienced this when you travel? Have you noticed how others reflect back to you aspects of yourself that you not only like but also the parts of yourself that you're uncomfortable with? What mindset do you like to approach travel with?