While home in Muskegon for just a few weeks, I have spent hours of my time enjoying the beautiful Lake Michigan beaches and a period of inward reflection. Ever since I was young, the beach has always provided me with a great place to think and to feel myself.
I have seen beauty in this world in many different forms, in many different countries, and in many different people. These experiences outside of my homeland are what allow me to really comprehend the beauty that has always been so near, the lovely Lake Michigan and surrounding coast. While I am away, I dearly miss the scenery and therapeutic powers of the waves that the beach provides. I miss the burning red sunsets and the great conversations that always go along with. I miss the warm breeze off the lake as I sit just watching the water roll over its self again and again as I ponder my thoughts.
If I never would have left Muskegon to travel, I would never have been able to miss the beach as I do. Thus, I never would have realized how much I love the beach. I will always have a soft spot for home sweet home, but I will always yearn for new knowledge through experiences away from home. Through my travels I have grown such a passion for the world we all live in, and this passion is what now drives me. I feel for those who don’t have the opportunity to see what else is beyond their hometown horizons. Personally, I will never be able to perfectly describe in words what traveling has done for me in this life.
I can see how my travels through various cultures has helped to open my mind. I have become a different person: more easy-going, more personable, more excepting, and less judgmental. All of these traits I attribute to my travels and appreciate it greatly. Although I am so grateful for the openmindedness I have gained, I sometimes become frustrated when I realize how closedminded people can be. It is hard to understand why or how anyone could judge someone because of their race, gender, or even accent. We all live in one world and we need to play nice with one another! It is at this point (in my frustration) that I begin to feel for those who do not have the opportunity to have first hand experiences cultures different from their own because exposure to other cultures makes it feel less different. If others seem less different from one’s self, then one will not be so quick to judge.
The time I have spent reflecting at home has made my travels so much more important. By realizing why I love to travel and how it has benefited me, I am able to get so much more meaning from it.
My advice to my fellow travelers is to go into any situation with an open-mind and an open heart – I mean any situation, not just those away from home. Take your experiences abroad and apply them to your everyday life. Just as if you were abroad: talk and get to know people. Enjoy those around you. Take in all of your surroundings. and above all love life. Everyday. At all times.