More of the same

 

I know I talk about this a lot but I just can’t help it.  It’s such a huge part of travel for me.  Humility.

If you follow the train tracks that run through the grounds at the Intercontinental resort in Fiji, you’ll find yourself at the little village where most of the staff lives.

My bed here is comfortable.  The walls are sound and the plumbing is sufficient for a shower, bath-tub, western-style toilet, and two sinks.  I sleep with the air conditioning running and I turn on or off the lights whenever I want.

Every day a woman name Mere visits this little haven I’ve enjoyed and she services the room.  She most likely lives in Sana Sana village right down the train tracks.  Her walls are not like these walls.

It is not so much significant that Mere’s home is so much humbler than the one I’ve inhabited just down the road.  It is significant however that my norm of life has always been this separated from Mere’s.  Even before I lived down the train-tracks from Mere, this gap existed and it will continue to exist when I return home, even if I do all I can to live as simply as I can.  Mere will likely still be out there living in a home that wouldn’t pass code in the States.

Homes like this turn the cogs of my mind.

I have an opportunity here.  Drew and I have never had a home of our own together.  We have never called a place “home” as a pair.  We are not yet adjusted to a standard way of life together.  (Every day, after all, is different for us.)  We haven’t had plumbing in a house together.  We haven’t left the air conditioning running all day in a house together.  We haven’t furnished a home or even a refrigerator really.

This means that we have the chance to think about all we’ve seen and decide how to create our “norm” in response to this gap.  The sad truth is that my prosperity contributes to another person’s poverty…in a very complex way that I’ve been researching in a sense via travel (and podcasts.)  My norms will determine how many resources I demand with my lifestyle.  It will also determine how much of my own monetary resources I have left to give.  It will determine the way I think about “needs” and the way I respond to poverty. It will guide my money.

Sometimes I shake my head in disgust when a local lies to me to get a few extra bucks.  Other days I grieve at my lack of understanding for his devastating need.  Some days he looks at my Western wealth with resentment, and sees me as a dollar sign.  Other days he looks at me with gratitude for my tourism’s effect on his local economy.  I am his guest.

Grace is important.
So is love for whoever happens to be the “others” in our loves.
And so is selflessness, in the moments I want something more than the well-being of another.

I know I talk about this a lot but I just can’t help it.  It’s such a huge part of travel for me.  Humility.

I don’t think love can exist well without it.

 

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7 thoughts on “More of the same

  1. I love that you’re thinking about these things early on in your marriage. My husband and I married ten years ago with every intention of living overseas. Our first year of marriage brought baby Peregrine and my husband had cancer. It’s just way too easy to accumulate stuff and settle into comfort and buy the lie that you need bigger, better, faster, and more. Ten years later, we are still here in Oregon. Our home is modest by American standards, especially with four kids, but I crave a simpler, more connected life, fewer things, smaller space, more togetherness. Our home is up for sale, and as soon as we have a buyer, we’re plunging into the unknown and embarking on an adventure that will hopefully lead us to a new home base. We don’t know where, but God knows. We’re going to be in South America this fall, so that will be exciting.
    The kids loved their lesson with you yesterday, and we’ll email some pics soon!

    • Rebeca,
      Thanks so much for your thoughts. They are good ones. I am excited for anyone who, at any point in life, follows a calling towards simplicity. Smallness can indeed mean closeness :).
      Also, I will be in South America in early fall as well! Where will you be? (I’ll be in Chili, Easter Island, and Peru, but all before mid-September)

      • We fly into Lima, Peru, on September 1st and have return tickets to Oregon November 26th. We will likely find a small place to rent and settle in, and do some exploring from there. Would love to venture down into Chile too, but as of yet have no idea. We bought tickets on a whim last night, as I got round trip flights from LA for $215 each. That was too good to pass up, so we decided to go for it. Now, the kids and I will dive into learning about South America for the next few months and stepping up our Spanish lessons!

      • Woah! My husband thought about booking that same ticket! But it overlaps when we’ll already be in Peru. (Looks like we may be in Peru at the same time?) Wow! I wonder if you and your husband surf the same “deals pages” that my husband has thoroughlyscoured… FlyerTalk?

    • Also, I enjoyed the art lesson as well! 🙂

  2. I heard about it through a Facebook group called Families on the Move. It would be great if we could meet up while we’re both in Peru. I have no idea where we’ll be yet.

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