When I decided to take the family on an around the world trip, I did so hoping we would get more out of it than it would cost us in money and time. I hoped we would make life time memories by meeting new people, seeing amazing things, tasting wonderful flavors and learning a whole lot while we experience all this simultaneously. The truth is that we have experienced all we expected and much more.
The experience has been priceless, it’s opened our minds and shown us how much bigger the world is than we originally thought. We are now almost halfway through our trip, having done over 11 000km on trains and 8000km on planes. We have met numerous people of all colors and culture, speaking different languages that have re-shaped us forever in such a short period.
We have chatted about the past, present, future, about Communism, Socialism and Capitalism. We have tasted curries, stews, stir fries, grills and all other traditional cousins. We have seen an array of traditional singing, dancing and fighting styles. We have seen temples, churches, mosques, shrines and other religious sites.
The truth is that we have seen and experienced more than we ever thought we could because we weren’t even aware of their existence.
We have never once felt intimidated, scared or fearful of what was to come, maybe because our own spirit going into this trip has been to engage and learn from others. We have also understood that we are ambassadors ourselves of our own culture and country to others during this trip. We are a representation of our value system and of our origins, and this is how we want others to perceive Portuguese people.
Everyone we have met has been proud in showing us the best of their land, they have been open and understanding always sensitive to mistakes in their past or even their present. People have been accommodating and open to learning, questions have been asked and all have answers in an honest and respectful manner.
Sensitive subjects such as the roles of governments have many times been handled jokingly but still expressing a point or a view. We have never pushed to be right but have always understood and respected the right to be different.
So what have I learnt?
My answer is honest and simple. I have learnt that there is no correct way. We have all messed up, we all had dark periods of history, we have all made mistakes. The world cannot be seen only in black and white, in wrong and right, there are so many shades of color that are equally beautiful. The future will require a mix of solutions and the use of all our talents to make it work for all. We need to use the best of Communism, Socialism and Capitalism because using just one system won’t work.
We need science as much as we need arts and culture so we can appreciate the full potential of this beautifully diverse world.
I have learnt we need Balance in everything, we need patience and understanding if we want the best future for us all. I understood that we are different but at the same time we’re also very similar to each other, and in the end, we all basically want the same things in the future; we want the best for our children and our loved ones.
We all take them to school, feed them, and provide for them as best we can, make them our priority.
I see this everywhere I go, parents loving their children and desperately trying to give their children more than what they themselves had in their youth. This is a common trait amongst everyone I met. It’s wonderful and proves we are all the same.
With this being the main aim for us all, we should work closer together on making this a reality.
We should have a common social, environmental and economic vision that doesn’t overlap negatively on each other but respects and fosters understanding.
After meeting lots of locals and other travelers, I am more positive that we can save the world, and more importantly, that we can work together to make it better for our families and loved ones. This is our foremost common interest as the rest is just noise.
So I leave you with a challenge to travel, as you will learn and make new and varied friends that will re-shape your mind in a positive way.
The world’s future depends on it.