Just how far are you from realizing your dreams? A difficult question I’m sure but one that’s worthy of your attention. the reality of the answer is that you’re always further than you want to be. Humans tend to have changing interests and what was important at one juncture of our life may not have much effect on us in the future. This came to my mind as I drove down the street and saw the signs of a soon-to-be political battle brewing for the Mayor in my hometown. As I drove by I suddenly and startlingly came to the conclusion that I really don’t care. What, I asked myself? Politics. You really don’t care? I almost couldn’t believe what I was saying as I once considered myself a likely candidate in politics and yet, here I am, not giving one damn bit about what any of them have to say. I’m still fine tuning my emotions on the subject because I’m also a believer that if you don’t vote, you can’t complain, and I’ve been known to complain about the system from time to time. But, all of a sudden, in what seemed like an overnight revelation…I stopped caring. And there you have it. Does it make me a bad person or, say…un-American? I’d suggest no at this point. I’ve had the opportunity to visit several countries over the last year and I’ve come to the conclusion that the rest of the world, minus ISIS, loves America. They just simply dislike our politics. I see that and I get it. It ain’t pretty. I can only assume that the farther I go out and the more I see, the less stance I take on certain ideas and issues. I can’t sit here and say that we do it better or wiser but it’s certainly different. There seems to definitely be a correlation between the extremes that you would take and the amount of leisure travel in your life. In essence I’m starting to live on the foundation of standing still leads to negativity. It’s certainly not scientific but that idea resonates with many things. If you’re standing still, you’re going nowhere. You can suddenly find yourself wrapped up in the confines of your own mind, which can be sometimes stifled.
It’s not just an American thing either. Places we’ve gone and people we see have a negative view of their own politics as well, and guess what, they’re standing still. Does simply getting out and seeing the world around you change your views like it did mine? Probably not, but it will open your eyes. It forces you to look within yourself and ask, “Are any of us doing this right?” Some of the most extreme people I know don’t care to see the rest of the world. They almost look at it with disdain and when I ask why they don’t want to see the rest of the world, the answer is invariably, “why would I?”. I’m not one for fishing into those answers as I never want to open that can of patriotism. There’s patriotism and then there’s hatriotism. Don’t worry, I’m not going to venture down that road of right and wrong because, yes, everyone has an opinion and who am I to dispute it? My goal is more to open the minds of the people and the doors that close them up and see the world that they often watch on the news. And maybe watch it just a little bit closer. People are very different all over the world and when you ignore all but the very small corner you live in, you may be looking at your own version of institutionalization. Travel is not only for entertainment, it’s for learning as well. Hearing the views of us from other places throughout the world gives you a unique view that isn’t afforded to all. Not everything is learned in a book and my kids can vouch for that. I didn’t have the opportunity to see new places at such an early age, but I can already see the level of acceptance in their eyes, their thoughts and their reactions.
So yes, as we enter into another election year, I’m sure I’ll have my say and vote, but with a much bigger picture than before. I’m learning these days that I never stop learning and the more I open my eyes and my passport, the more I realize just how much further I have to go. And luckily, that’s what I prefer to do. Go further.
“Live Within Your Means, Travel Beyond Them”