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All the Humans We Meet

August 6, 2023 by  
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So, we’ve been traveling again. I just got back from a couple weeks in Europe. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I love to travel because of the stimulation it gives my mind and my spirit. The newness of the experiences and the variety of the places and cultures all combine to inspire and energize me. But there is one thing I don’t find much different from place to place–people.

As much as we might want to imagine it, people around the world are, at their center, pretty much the same. I know that, in my experience, most people are good and kind and want to help regardless of race, religion, or country. We all have this binding similarity that is all too easily forgotten—that we are all human and we all want the same basic thing… to be happy.

That’s why it’s so upsetting when I see in the news about people segregating themselves from each other. Whether it’s one culture feeling distrusting another culture or the one political party trying to make it look like members of the other political party are another species, these divisions just make it harder for us to understand each other. It really makes no sense for us to think this way and, even worse, to teach our kids to think this way.

What would really help is for us all to stop and think that each individual person and realize that we all have the capacity for love and caring as well as hate and anger. Everyone we meet is someone’s child as well as someone’s friend and maybe even a mother or father or sibling. Each of us struggles with pain and misunderstanding. We all have dreams and desires. That is who these other’ people are–not a complete stranger but someone that is an awful lot like ourselves.

Knowing this I am not at all surprised to find, as I travel, smiling faces and kind gestures in every country and every culture I get to experience. I think if we expect animosity, we will find animosity, but if we expect compassion and generosity, it will be there for us to find. So, let’s all try to get past these divisions and try to understand that, like us, these other people we hear about or meet as we travel, they are struggling, wonderful humans too.

As much as we might want to imagine it, people around the world are, at their center, pretty much the same. I know that, in my experience, most people are good and kind and want to help regardless of race, religion, or country. We all have this binding similarity that is all too easily forgotten—that we are all human and we all want the same basic thing… to be happy.

That’s why it’s so upsetting when I read in the news about people segregating themselves from each other. Whether it’s one culture feeling hurt by what they are told about how another culture sees them or the one political party trying to make it look like members of the other political party are another species, it really makes no sense and is not helpful to keep pushing that division.

What would really help is for us all to stop and think that each individual person and realize that we all have the capacity for love and caring as well as hate and anger. Everyone we meet is someone’s child as well as someone’s friend and maybe even a mother or father or sibling. Each of us struggle with pain and misunderstanding. We all have dreams and desires. That is who these other’ people are, not a complete stranger but someone that is an awful lot like ourselves.

Knowing this I am not at all surprised as I travel to meet smiling faces and kind gestures in every country and every culture I get to experience. I think if we expect animosity, we will find animosity, but if we expect compassion and generosity, it will be there for us to find. So, let’s all try to get past these divisions and try to understand that, like us, they are human too.

Unique Humans

May 21, 2023 by  
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I’m sure that you would agree that no two lives are exactly the same. The same is true with personalities, physical fitness, intelligence, disabilities, routines, etc. I have always been amazed at how all humans are so unique. Sure, many of us are very similar to other people but we are never exactly the same. I’m pretty certain if you met someone that looked exactly like you and their thinking seemed to match yours as well, you’d be immensely surprised, maybe even shocked. I’ve lived in and visited countless cities in 94 countries and, of course, in my travels I met thousands of people, but I’ve never met another person just like me!

When it comes to travel, I have to say I owe my father big time for showing me how wonderful it can be. My father and I were very different, but he introduced me to travel and all the benefits it brings to a person and pretty much their entire lives. So even though I think my father and I are different in most ways, we both certainly learned to love travel and his sharing this passion turned out to be life changing for me, in very good ways.

When I was only 15, he took the whole family to Ankara, Turkey. It was because of a job change but it was still a pretty big deal to do that. And, wow, did that change my whole life and the way I see the world, for the better. Of course, it gave me the travel bug and it introduced me to all these different cultures, which I still find very exciting. That excitement pushed me to travel, and not just occasionally. So now, not only have I visited 94 different countries, that travel bug even motivated me to plan my honeymoon as a travel-around-the-world-in-28-days trip! That’s a trip I will never forget!

I am of the belief that if all humans traveled a lot and really experienced other cultures, it would make the world safer and so much better inasmuch as we would see and understand other people’s beliefs, practices, and cultural differences, allowing us to better appreciate and accept them. I do think that today’s technology is very helpful as we can get a better sense of how people live through TV, news, and online sharing.

Sure, the news, videos and other information also show the problems and highlight the bad in people but for the most part we can see how people in so many different countries are getting along, working to make a living, taking time off to have a good time, traveling, and going to exciting events, just like we do.

I think that all this information we have access to shows us the differences in our cultures, but we also get to learn how we are alike, and that opens our minds and our views. And seeing how we are alike can help us accept and appreciate the differences between all of us unique humans.

Driving (and Living) Lessons

December 10, 2010 by  
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It’s amazing how much one can get out of visiting other countries. Not only are there the constant novel experiences but there is also so much to learn from their habits and cultures. I have now been to 74 countries and even lived in Turkey from 1959 to 1961 where I attend high school. But even so, every country is a surprise, a wonder, and a new lesson, opening my eyes to so many new and varied visions of life and living.

One thing that stood out while walking and being driven in the heavy, crazy traffic of Kathmandu was how the culture and habits of the people there differed so very much from our own. We saw so many near misses between cars and pedestrians, watched our drivers and others being regularly cut off by wildly driven vehicles, and heard so many, many horns. I mean Kimberly, I, and my two daughters, Nichol and Cammy, came within an inch or two of being hit by motorcycles as well as cars. It was quite scary at first but amazingly you get used to it. It’s just how it is there. Back home in Utah, if any of those things happened you most likely would get an angry look or get flipped off while in some other cities in the U.S. you even might get shot.

However, in India and Nepal, people never seem to get upset or mad at the honking, getting cut off, or nearly being hit. It would seem that living in very crowded conditions combined with the both the Hindu and Buddhist attitudes results in a very calm, non-defensive, understanding. It would be nice if we could realize, in our country, that things get crazy sometimes, but it’s just not worth the energy and unhappiness of being upset.

There is so much for us to learn from other countries and peoples. It’s a shame that everyone in the world can’t visit dozens of other countries and see how much we, as humans, are very much the same and that we can learn from our differences.