By Maceo Keeling –
Recently, I’ve responded to questions regarding my personal travels.
Questions like: What am I looking for? What am I running from? Or … What’s the point of traveling?
Well, really, I am not looking for anything, or running away. However, there is a point: what I’m finding are different perspectives people share with me and the world as I travel.
Studies show that traveling can improve your overall health and enhance your creativity. Therefore, you need to take time out from your daily tasks, office responsibilities, hectic schedule, and everyday pressures at least once in a year. Plan a trip to a new city with an open itinerary, and let life present you with the numerous opportunities that await you. I found that by putting a little distance between what I see every day and what I experience elsewhere is a unique perspective of our planet. People embrace you because they want to learn the differences between their culture and other cultures.
Most of us generally only connect with people we see every day, people who basically think, act, and believe as we do. How then can we grow or even consider different ideas? How can we evolve if we do what we have always done, and think what we’ve always thought, and spend our time with the same circles of people we know? Travel puts a little space between what we think we see … and what is actually there. In a life without change and challenges, what we really get is a molehill instead of a mountain, and trees but no forest!
I have rafted the Upper Navua River of Fiji (often called the River of Eden) and drunk Kava with the locals. I have dined on stewed alpaca and guinea pig after climbing in the Andes Mountains. I have explored Mayan ruins in Chitzen Itza, Mexico, and the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru.
I’ve visited the El Yunque rain forest of Puerto Rico and the Waitomo caves of New Zealand. I have raised my black fist in front of the Louvre in France, the Forbidden City in China, the statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the Plaza Mayor in Spain. I’ve swum in the crystal-clear waters of Megan’s Bay and Trunk Bay in the Caribbean, and in the tepid waters of the South Pacific. Canada, Hong Kong, Macau, Ecuador, Taiwan, the Galapagos Islands are all indelibly stamped in my passport, my memory, and my perspective. I have eaten reeds and clay with the Euros on the floating islands of Lake Titicaca.
Those Euros of Lake Titicaca, Puño, Peru, by all scientific measure are a civilization of people that will not exist in 25 years. Their children grow up, move away and do not return to the manmade floating islands of the lake. For me it was a humbling and illuminating experience to see the smiles and joy amid such a difficult life. I met and was photographed with la Presidenta of the Island of Tibiru Killi, Candaleria Duran. She realized that they sacrifice literally everything now to their children’s future, and while their children will thrive in a new way of life, the elders know that the old ways will undoubtedly perish when they die. Take what you will from my experience, just know that there is more to the world than just our world. It’s not all about us.
How then does this help a black kid from the Nickerson Gardens Housing Projects of South Central LA? In a word—perspective.
If you don’t have the money, resources, or the time from work to travel—read a book! Reading can open your imagination as well as educate you.
Another way to expand your horizon and evolve your thinking is to make a new friend. Consider getting to know someone from another culture; make a friend from another country; start a new hobby. Both learning a language or studying music—learning to play an instrument—have even been proven to help reduce the risk of dementia. The benefits take you from your comfort zone and the distance between where you are and where you’ve been will enlighten you.
Answer the call—and enlighten yourself!
You don’t have to be great to get something started, but you do have to start something to become great!
“Vision Is Not Enough – Clarity is Vital to Achieve Your Goals.” Speaker Requests Contact (828) 989-6999.
The opinions and statements made in this column are solely the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of The Urban News.