Recently while waiting for a flight at the Madrid airport, I spotted a poster that read, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” I love travelling for the spontaneous gifts of new perspectives I always receive.
Reflecting on the last week of walking city streets, riding the subway, strolling through the park and sipping coffee at a café, I remembered people moving through their day, just as I might back home. Only on these days, I had the gift of simply observing. It seems we have a common human interest in finding happiness, peace and fulfilment. It struck me that regardless of whether I understood the actual words being spoken, I saw connection between people. I saw relationships being cultivated. I saw hunger, longing, playfulness and joy. And it was stunningly, simply, beautiful.
In her book, “The Opposite of Hate,” author Sally Kohn posits the opposite of hate is not necessarily love – it is connection. The simple gift of observing others in another country, another city or even just another context, for me is witnessing those connections in real time. The gift was heartwarming, connecting me with a larger world, with my brothers and sisters who, like me, want to be healthy, happy and loved.
I am richer for the experience of traveling outside my normal routine. For slowing down long enough to feel my connectedness to others. I’m more inclined to listen, to forgive and to love unconditionally. And, I know I’ll forget again, probably soon – and think I’m alone. Then it will be time to invest in the one thing I can buy that makes me truly richer. Where are you traveling next?