around the world

I recently returned from the second of two international trips last month. I am very grateful for the privilege to travel and experience different parts of the world. I enjoy the beauty and richness of diverse cultures, the variety of God’s creation in places and people, and the reminder that we have so much in common in our hearts and souls, although we may look different on the outside.

My trips were for work, but they felt more like fun because of the connections with treasured colleagues and the opportunities to make new friends. This is a special joy of my job – working relationships that include learning from each other, combining gifting and strengths to accomplish more than I could alone, and sharing history and innovation, dreams and challenges, tears and deep laughter. I am thankful for safe people who care, encourage, ask with genuine curiosity, speak the truth, and seek to love and serve well.

I also enjoy seeing the fabrics and textures of nationally-unique clothing and crafts, hearing the songs of multiple languages, and savoring (most of) the flavors of new foods and drinks. I learn much from others’ history, inventions, passions, geographical adjustments, and lifestyles.

Here are just a few of the lessons I learned on these trips…

  • bikes are still a transportation option in cold weather
  • healthy food options are offered in unique places
  • tulips originate from central Asia
  • boat homes are alternative housing options
  • those who suffer greatly can still experience and share joy
  • the Google translate app is super helpful and easy to use
  • you can interpret for a group using the Signal app
  • people amaze me with their lavish service and kindness
  • others amaze me with their teachable hearts and desire to learn and grow
  • many amaze me with their impressive abilities and skill sets that are completely different from mine
  • all over the world, people create inspirational, life-changing, sustainable businesses to help others support themselves and their families
  • an empty adjacent seat is a precious gift on a long flight
  • fish-shaped waffles are a thing – and they are delicious
  • you can fit four+ people on a small motorbike
  • papaya can taste good
  • Despite our differences, people everywhere long for significance in their lives, care for and enjoy their loved ones, desire connection and belonging, and search for God.

It is good for me to get out of my “comfort zone” and experience others’ worlds. Sometimes it is uncomfortable, and I feel out of control, but I am a different – and better – person because of the influences of others on my life.

What do you enjoy most about traveling?