People will say I am lucky. I guess that is good, but I never really felt that way. I think I spent the first half of my life just going along day to day wondering what was next. Gratitude wasn't something I really understood or thought about much. I lived a little life and was pretty selfish I think.
At some point I began to travel. I learned a great deal. The things I took for granted were not available to many in most parts of the world, even in developed countries. People tend to judge the world through their own experiences often forgetting that there are other ways and other places that are very different than what they know. I was guilty of this and I now know it.
In the years since that time I have been fortunate enough to travel to many places I could only dream of as a child. I remember being at and on the Great Wall and being taken back by the enormity of it. I remember being in Jerusalem and wondering how I would cope with the ongoing bombings if I lived there. I remember being in Red Square and taken by the beauty of the buildings and the hardships of the people. I remember being on the Cape of New Hope watching the penguins and thinking that inner child studied this and now here I was. I remember the Great Barrier Reef, the Gobi Desert, the simple stare of the gorillas in Uganda and the peoples of South America, Asia, and Africa whose day to day lives are nothing like mine.
I have learned so much in places I never imagined I would ever visit. I no longer assume and I am grateful for being able to listen and be open to new places and experiences.