Have your journeys made you more empathetic?

Travel is a quest for diversity, the very diversity-cultural, spiritual, geographical-that defines the destinations we set out to discover. The destination can be within our country. But why does it sometimes feel easier to embrace diversity the farther we get from home?

Openness has a lot to do with it. So do intention, vulnerability, and the kindness of strangers. I’m always impressed when I perceive in travelers a willingness to be gentle, empathetic, and curious abroad…a willingness that might not be quite so pronounced back home. And I wonder: What would it take to apply a traveler’s curiosity to our everyday lives?

Do you remember experiences where you connected with a person or space? I remember being in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice, sitting in the square. I was sure my ancestry lived here. Or the man at a Vaporetto stop that came up to me and asked ‘where I am going’. Then he directed me to the correct stop! Or the times I have shared a meal with a stranger. I still have a place mat we drew where our families live. Because my French does not exist, and her English was limited we drew. Or Michael from San Francisco who needed a friend for dinner in Florence so many years ago. Stories are the best…..

Feeling at home in the world is one of the rewards of travel. The next step is to bring that same warmth and openness back home. What lessons have your learned on your journeys that have enriched your life every day? I would love to know-share your wisdom here. Meanwhile be kind to each other.

Edited from George Stone, National Geographic

About alwaysharriet

With thirty years experience in corporate and leisure travel consulting, Harriet Ahouse has traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean and worldwide. An avid scuba diver, she understands the requirements of travelers both on land and in the water. On the European scene she has offered traditional and personalized travel itineraries throughout the continent--Italy, France, and England are some of her favorites. As a Virtuoso Agent, she also has extensive resources to enhance her expertise in designing individual destination travel itineraries--and honeymoons--worldwide!
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