Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!
Despite my best efforts to try and keep the blog as real-time as possible since Amsterdam, we are actually not in Paris anymore … we’ve been home for three weeks! While at times a bit weird to not be on the road anymore, it has been such a joy and comfort to be home with family and friends, especially during the holiday season.
And as we’ve been settling back into our home routines and starting to put up Christmas lights, we’ve been reflecting on “life lessons” from the trip:
This specifically stems from noticing how much people can be on their phones instead of paying attention to the people and going-ons around them. Don’t get me wrong, I did this a lot myself—and still do—but I’m trying more and more to put the technology away and be more present in my surroundings. Even as I was writing notes for this post, I realized that I was sitting with my parents and cousins, and I tucked my laptop away to engage more fully in the conversation.
Vikram and I were both a bit embarrassed about how little we knew about the world, current events, and modern history: Colombia’s promising economic resurgence, the recent Philippine election, the horrors of the Khmer Rouge, the wars in the Balkans. And we were realizing all this against the backdrop of the U.S. presidential election, which seemed particularly rife with misleading and outright false information. For us, this highlighted how impactful and dangerous ignorance can be—and how we want to stay more informed about the world around us.
We met so many different people this past year, and it was inevitable that some people annoyed us. But instead of acting on assumptions, we learned the importance of always leading with kindness. You never know what people could be struggling with behind closed doors. And with so many bad things happening the world, the least we can do is to always be kind to those we encounter.
Similarly, we definitely had some tiring travel days when we were the cranky and annoying ones. On those occasions, we greatly appreciated the kindness that others showed us!
Traveling in constantly new places made us more aware of taking the time to appreciate the sights around us and to explore everything with curiosity and a sense of adventure—“this is our first time here and we may never be back again, so I want to take in everything I can!”
But this traveling mindset doesn’t have to stop now that we’re home. We’ve become more acutely aware of the beauty and wonder in familiar surroundings. Our home is a fascinating place that offers countless opportunities to explore and learn—from hiking in the Shenandoah to visiting the Smithsonian. Even the local post office seems more mystical to me now!
And with this mindset, we’re looking forward to whatever adventures pop up for us next 🙂