Sunday, June 2, 2013

How has travel changed you?

Dec. 2006: Traveling from Salta to Ushuaia, Argentina

I love to travel for many reasons. One of them is that I am more aware of my surroundings when I travel. Being in a new place opens my eyes to moments I may miss in daily life. 5 days ago I took a bus from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz in Bolivia. Yesterday I took a train from Santa Cruz to Salta in the north of Argentina.

Today in Salta...
1. I saw an old lady giving a cup of coffee and a piece of cake to a beggar with crutches sitting on a sidewalk.
2. I observed a blue collar workers protesting and shouting at the anti-riot police protecting city hall.
3. Earlier I watched children feeding pigeons in a plaza.
4. I listened to a blind old man playing tango with his accordion while I wrote postcards to my mom and grandparents. A few tears fell as I wrote, tears of happiness and gratitude for all the blessings in my life.

All day I wandered. Sometimes with map in hand. I found museums, sights to see, but I also walked aimlessly. A times I simply observed and listened. The weather was perfect, the sun shined on me.

5. I took pictures of a pink house and a blue balcony with pots of red flowers.
6. I observed downtown streets getting empty as people went home after work.
7. My heart was saddened by the sight of a mother and her three children rummaging the trash bins for something they could use or sell.
8. Later in the afternoon I saw fashionista ladies walking the streets carrying lots of shopping bags.
9. I am thankful for having this chance to observe those moments that make up life.
10. Learning to appreciate those moments.

That's one way how travel changes us: travel opens our eyes. How has travel changed you?