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  • Andrea Novella

    Travelling within your own country, and going to places you normally wouldn't, is a great way to experience this!

    I recently was in Zacapa, Guatemala. It's only a three hour drive from Antigua, where I was born and raised. We were hiking and this lovely woman who lived in the mountains ran out of her home, worried that I would fry in the midday sun. She lent me a straw hat for our hike.

    When I got back, I wanted to thank her. She had gone out of her way to help a complete stranger. All I had with me was a bag of laundry detergent.

    I humbly offered it to her as a gesture of appreciation. Funny thing… Detergent is not easy to find in these areas. Watching her eyes light up was like unwrapping presents at Christmas.

    She hugged me, invited me in for "fresco" (a refreshment), gave me a broom to take with me (which she makes and sells) and made me promise I would come over for lunch next time I visited.

    By far, the most special travel moment I have ever been fortunate enough to experience.

  • Emily Friedman

    Just stumbling across this post now and couldn't agree more. Travel seems to be the only time for me when a typically mundane activity can become a pivotal moment, one of rare focus and heightened awareness of time and place. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Jessica L

    Yes, threshold moments are moments where we are present; moments where we are anticipating the unknown. Travelling to an unfamiliar place can give us these moments and feelings!

  • Farwa K

    Great post, I agree. I have been lucky enough to travel, backpack, and study in 20+ countries across the world. It's these wonderful and profound moments that impact who you are as a person, and how you deal with what comes your way.

  • David Tetelbaum

    Travel helps broaden your mind. In turn helps in involving yourselves more in innovative ideas than before.

  • pamphyilazyahooz

    Ha! I get a lot of this merely living in Los Angeles! My father left his home country to escape poverty. A favorite saying was "You can't eat the scenery."

  • Mcfsrn

    Everyone should travel, especially to a third world/developing country. It opens one's eyes to the richness of the US- to what we have available to us, like clean water, education, abundant food, good roads...the list goes on and on. Then you see the poverty in these countries and the goodness and generosity of the people who live there- who would give you the shirt of their backs and offer you something to eat....and a smile that would light up a room. The important and simple lessons learned in these countries will never be found in the most expensive, prestigious universities....

    • m_alonso

      Mcfsrn, I have also received goodness and generosity from people living in developing nations and I definitely appreciate your sentiments here. It's important to remember not to use others' poverty as a lesson, or travel to developing/underdeveloped nations specifically in order to open your eyes to the opulence found at home. I have heard from a few people in the global south that they feel "watched" or "observed" when wealthy tourists come to experience the "poor show" or as some like to call it, "poverty porn."

      I think it's important not to romanticize poverty, especially when it is coupled with goodness and generosity. If, when we walk away from impoverished countries, all we do is say "wow, I have a lot, and I'm so lucky to live in the US" that doesn't serve anyone but ourselves, and we've simply used others to learn a lesson that should have been apparent all along.

      For me, kinship is the goal. It's not easy when you're bouncing around from place to place, but it is possible to have a short conversation, ask questions, share knowledge, be vocally grateful to your hosts...I think these are opportunities for mutual learning, not just to observe and get a lesson out of someone else's misfortune.

      • Mcfsrn

        Thanks for your thought Alonso. I'm not sure I would, or anyone else would classify poverty as porn or romantic, but I do understand your point. I was in Panama a few years ago, staying in a small village outside of Panama City. Some of the things I observed while staying there gave me a new appreciation for what I am blessed with here in this country. I guess my point is that living with so much does not create happiness or generosity and despite what anyone takes away from being exposed to someone simply being happy without all the "stuff" we surround ourselves with...if it changes one person's life, it might be worth the time spent with the poor. The other thing too is that we hear the word poverty, or the poor of this world....or someone being homeless. Do many people honestly know what those terms mean? I teach nursing students. They do their clinicals in the perfect, sterile world known as hospitals. Poor, homeless patients are discharged with medications that need refrigeration or to be taken at certain times, orders to make sure they eat or avoid certain foods, etc. When we take these students into a homeless shelter or to a home where there is no power or refrigeration, it is a real eye opener to them. It gives them the opportunity to learn how to better care for this particular population. It teaches them very powerful lessons they couldn't learn by reading or being told about them and the daily challenges they face.
        There is nothing wrong with spending time in developing countries and allowing yourself the opportunity to put a face on what real poverty is all about. I really don't think many people have a clue.

        • m_alonso

          Thanks Mcfsrn. I totally agree with what you've said, "living with so much does not create happiness or generosity," and it is often not until we see it with our own eyes that we believe we can be happy with less stuff. If time spent with the poor changes someone's life, and they in turn go out into the world a live out the lessons learned, then the travel has been worth it.
          Thank you for your important work teaching nursing students--and for showing them that not everyone has the sanitary conditions or electricity to be able to properly administer medications.

  • Abha Khabar

    uenos Aires where at the time the dollar was 3:1, there was a healthy developer community, lower stress levels, higher quality of life (I had a 2000 sq ft apt/office, a tennis coach, a steak dinner cost me $15, and

  • Artur Maklyarevsky

    From a startup/founder perspective -

    Mega cities like NYC are bar-none for many incredible opportunities, but it comes with a huge price, both financially and mentally.

    When I came up with the idea of my first startup back in 2005 – NYC and the US in general were economically ‘solid’ – I had a decent 6-figure job in Silicon Alley, yet the option to take 1 year off and bootstrap a team of 3 devs was not viable in NYC.

    So I decided to move to Buenos Aires where at the time the dollar was 3:1, there was a healthy developer community, lower stress levels, higher quality of life (I had a 2000 sq ft apt/office, a tennis coach, a steak dinner cost me $15, and women outnumbered men 4:1). The other wonderful benefit was the time-zone ( just +1hr ahead of NYC), which enabled me to maintain key connections with our customers, clients, markets, and advisors.

    When the crisis broke out in 2006, I was able to ride it out easily and grow 2 more startups – the last just launched: JuicyCanvas.com

    This is not for everyone; its depends on what your startup needs at that time for your particular stage. However my move to BA was life changing – and I highly recommend it for every new entrepreneur since it really brings out the BEST ideas, while allowing you to incubate your idea into an MVP without requiring outside capital and losing equity.

    And ironically the idea for JuicyCanvas came out of a tangent seed idea for a brick-n-mortar concept I would not have had were I in the US. ( http://juicycanvas.com/our-story/ )

    Why?
    Because being a startup founder is like being Lewis and Clark – you need to leave what you know and go into the ‘unknown’. By incubating your idea abroad, you are forcing yourself to adapt to new things and achieve perspective and that prepares you for LEAN-thinking, while meeting others (yes, there are other expats) who are doing the same.

    Now that our startup has successfully launched – we are ready to return back to cities that have the ecosystem and resources we need to scale it.

    NYC – I’m coming home – and hope my metrocard will still work!

    Artur | co-founder
    JuicyCanvas.com

    • Lindsey Smith

      Thanks for the perspective! Very interesting.

    • Angela Cross

      By the way, juicy canvas is great. Fantastic idea ~ and the homepage is really inviting for people looking to buy or sell art. Very clear.

    • Angela Cross

      So interesting to see your comment, I am currently living in El Bolson working on my business www.waistcoatandwatch.com ~ being away from my home city Los Angeles has provided me so much inspiration and space to think in ways that eluded me while in the states. Checkin our your site now :)

  • Danilo Sierra

    The problem of rushing to comment. I did not noticed you mentioned Comayagua! I was born there and you get all kind of mixed up opinions about it (My sister does not like it) but I really appreciate exactly the kind of romanticism you put up here.

    Thank you for this article.

  • Inge Zwart

    Very nice, I definitely agree. Not only is travelling a form of learning and experiencing new things, I believe it can be an alternative to our idea of 'education'. In my surroundings travelilng is in that way very often under-valued. Hmm.. I'd like to think a bit more about it. Thanks for the nice text!

  • Danilo Sierra

    I appreciate this so much. This is somehow similar to the cases in Central America if you use any non-central american passport.

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    Travel makes us better HUMAN BEINGS. It allows us to truly Understand each other and to realize there are NO Strangers. We are so much more interconnected than we realize. I believe if Everyone had the opportunity to travel across the manmade borders they would see a world of PEOPLE far more similar than different. And they would Value the differences rather than fear them. Travel has changed my life. Nearly always on a shoestring budget. And as a Storyteller it enriches me and my audiences as I am fortunate enough to meet and work with the cultures directly from whom the stories originate. Building Bridges Between. Thank you for posting! Daily Good, you make my life better! HUG from my heart to yours! Kristin