Being in a new culture, surrounded by new customs and traditions and experiencing new foods and drinks, sounds and languages, elicits many varied emotions in a traveler. Two special little treasures have specifically helped on this journey abroad.
The first of these treasures I came across when I opened a seldom-used tiny pocket of my camera case. Out of the pocket rolled two seashells and one of the smallest pieces of driftwood I have ever seen. Immediately these items brought me back to the rugged coastline region I call home and brought a renewed sense of energy into my day.
Another treasure I encountered recently was the friendly smile and demeanor of a young girl on her way to choir practice. She greeted me warmly and I complimented her pretty curls, showing my own curls to her.
This interaction with her let me glimpse into the heart and soul of the Philippines, all through the eyes of a young girl. The short moment her and I shared touched a cord deep inside me. She showed me some of the beauty and joy within this land.
She reminded me of myself when I was younger. This got me to thinking such questions as: what is her favorite place to spend hours on end exploring? What treasures could she find hidden in a pocket which bring a warm flood of memories and a smile to her face?
This young girl on the steps with the dark brown curly hair, dark blue dress, smile that showed in her eyes, and her hand in the form of a peace sign, she is where we all were at one time: in her childhood. She has yet to lose her innocent nature, her carefree spirit, and I secretly hope she never has to. She also reminded me that travel is so much more than going to a place, seeing the sights, following the tour guide, taking notes, and going about our days and lives. Travel is something meant to go deeper, to engage with one’s surroundings.