Last year, around the same time as now, I wrote a piece about why we travel with intentions of highlighting the meaning of travel as it relates to our experiences. As we’ve been traveling through South America for four months now, I think it’s appropriate to continue this conversation.
While there are many reasons a person might travel, I imagine that one who travels for personal reasons does it to get in touch with the beauty of life. We sure do. The truth is, there is beauty all around us, and within is, and you don’t always have to go far to find it. Beauty can be an act of selflessness or kindness. Beauty can be an internal reformation, or even a blossoming of oneself. It can be opening the curtains to the sunshine of a new day, full of inspiration and joy. Beauty is everywhere.
But the further you go away from what you know, you begin to experience beauty with depth like never before. It can begin with a hike in the forest opening up to a spectacular view of endless rolling hills and mountains covered in lush green trees. Next you mind find yourself overlooking immense waterfalls and closing your eyes to feel the misty breeze softly spraying your face.
The natural world is full of beauty and yet not all beauty is literally beautiful. Beauty can be found in subtle acts such as the alliance of tiny ants working together with a common goal of gathering food to store in preparation of winter. While you might not have to go far to witness such team work, it’s important to note that beauty isn’t just something that looks nice or pretty. Once this deeper understanding of beauty is conceptualized, you will begin to feel beauty more than just seeing it.
We’ve found that interacting with people of different cultures has resulted in beautiful connections. When we have stayed with couples or families, in Ecuador and Peru for example, we have met such kindhearted people whom have radiated this beautiful energy. You know it when you feel it. Generosity, thoughtfulness, joy; all channels of beauty. We would share our lifestyles and cultural traditions with one another, excited to make the exchange. Once it would be time to part ways, we would hug and embrace, as if we’d known each other our whole lives. Even if these connections were temporary or brief, had we not broken the boundaries of conformity they may have never taken place.
This kind of beauty is invaluable, and is a light that shines brightest when coming from the purity of your own heart. Giving to others without expectation of receiving is an act of kindness that gets one in touch with beauty. Doing volunteer work or other acts of service with families or organizations in other countries are excellent ways to shine your light. Once you begin to engage with the world outside of your own in such ways, you find that beauty and love are the lights of life worth living for.
There is also beauty in transcending beyond your discomfort, fears, and prejudices. This transformation takes place as you experience and accept the ways other cultures live. The only way to authentically do that is to travel. So much of what we think we know comes from the conditioning from our environment and peers. Realizing this, one should make a conscious effort to expand your mind through cultural exploration, immersion, and acceptance. There is limitless beauty to be found in the unknown, the unfamiliar, and even the absurd. Once you begin to connect with humankind on such a deeper level, you become enlightened by the inner beauty within and without us all.