The Travel Secret So Many People Don’t Know

It was a brief moment that hit me someplace deep, during the normally mundane task of taking my son to his orthodontic appointment.

I told the orthodontist of our plans to be out of the country the next few months and we discussed how to plan my son’s care. Then he asked, with the usual raised eyebrow, “Oh… What are you going to be doing in Nicaragua? Vacation?”

I told him about our plans for the coming year, school for Sam, studying Spanish together and my work hosting cultural immersion travel excursions.

It clearly jogged his memory of living and traveling for a time in Germany while studying abroad because he shared briefly about learning the language and about the culture and how much he enjoyed it. Then he said, “Did you hear about the car that crashed into the German Christmas market yesterday?”.  I hadn’t heard, but later would catch stories on the radio as I listened to the news.  I paused a moment as I imagined what both his mouth and eyes had just said to me.

Sam hugs Dalila at Luguna de Apoyo Nicaragua

He was telling me about an incident that happened someplace far away, yet it was close to him in his mind, in his thoughts. That’s what his eyes were saying, I realized. He had spent time there, knew people there, and then hearing about that tragic experience in that same place clearly made him feel something more.

My response came out because I could imagine that scenario myself, “It touches you more, doesn’t it?” I said. Because he had lived there, I could see that the tragedy struck him on a more personal level than if it had happened somewhere he’d never been.  To him it wasn’t just any old story of tragedy from around the world, it was a tragedy to people he cared about. 

The moment was over quickly but it meant so much to me, to see him feel on a deeper level about someplace he cared about but was a million miles away. Clearly there was a connection from his travel.

My wish for you in the new year is that you may have an experience that leaves you more caring, compassionate, and feeling more love for someone, someplace in our world.

It’s needed. You’re needed.

6 thoughts on “The Travel Secret So Many People Don’t Know

  • December 24, 2016 at 9:15 am


    This is a beautiful post. The value of relationships and support of one another carries on through your dentist’s memories and compassion, as well as through your words.

    • December 25, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      Thank you! I imagine your own travel experiences have show you the same? It sounds like it at least. Warm wishes to you these holidays!

  • December 24, 2016 at 10:07 am

    I had a similar experience while I was out at a garage sale in Indiana this fall. The people who lived at the house, the ones having the sale, were talking about a hurricane that was supposed to make landfall in a few hours. I had not heard about the hurricane yet, but the couple having the conversation said it was a category 5 storm, which is catastrophic to any area it hits. At first they thought it was to hit the Florida keys and they seemed very concerned. A few minutes later, however, after reading the weather report on her phone the woman announces that the storm is to hit Jamaica. After hearing this the man says, “then who cares.” I had been quietly listening to their conversation while shopping around their garage sale and just about couldn’t hold my tongue. I’m sure he meant no harm, he was just no longer interested that this catastrophic storm was going to hit a small island that he had no relationship with. The experience for me was quite different when hearing this news though. I had lived in Jamaica when I was a teenager for a year as a foreign exchange student. I love Jamaica and have revisited the island many times since my year there. I was very worried. I know what hurricanes, especially ones of that magnitude, can do when they make landfall and people living on islands have no where to run. I travel a lot now with my children and this is why. For me, compassion starts with realizing that it is not us v. them, but that we are all in this together regardless of where we live or where we were born. Thanks for the post and Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!

    • December 25, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      Melissa, I get it, yes, so much. What a difference it makes in our life, feelings, choices, cares in the world. Thank you so much for sharing your own story of connection to place and people. love.

  • February 10, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Thank you for this post. In 1 week, my husband and I are taking our 4 and 6 year old boys to France, Paris and Strausborg. He’ll teach and play some too. I feel so excited to share a different culture and language and food and way of living, albeit only for 2 weeks. Thank you for writing what I have been feeling and hoping that my kids take away too. Deeper connection. Namaste ?

    • February 11, 2017 at 11:44 am

      Oh, how awesome Elissa! Soak in it…Before I left to come with my son to Nicaragua the first time, someone said to me…you know children are so wonderful at creating connection across cultures…they play, are curious, speak when we are feeling shy and their innocence is understood by all. Enjoy.


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