Welcome to my first blog and thanks for coming by to read it. After being encouraged by many colleagues to offer a blog, I have succumbed.
I plan to write blogs about the joys of being a world traveler combined with the rewards of my professional life as an international lecturer. Sometimes these travel and professional topics will converge in the same blog, other times not.
Mark Twain said: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”. I think Twain had it right. Seeing and knowing persons in their own country and within their own culture can expand our minds, enlarge our hearts, and help us realize that we all connected.
However, if we travel with the notion that in our home country, life is superior and preferred, it would be better we stay home and watch reality TV shows. But if we wish to have our beliefs challenged; our minds stretched, our lives improved through learning about (and often loving) others in different countries, then there is hope that transformation and enlightenment may occur from our travels.
I have always loved to travel but I have become totally devoted and quite mad about it in the past few years. Not only for the contributions that I can hopefully make in each country but also for the excitement of how it will change and challenge me and that I can pass on these learnings.
The chance encounters we have with others when traveling can also be edifying and refining if we are open to them. I was tweaking this first blog in my hotel restaurant in Thailand when a young, handsome Thai man approached my table and asked if he could borrow the battery charger to my computer. He had left his at his home in Bangkok some two hours away. Of course I was pleased to do so. But first, we embarked on a lovely conversation where I learned that he was a pilot and he offered me further ideas of where to travel in his beautiful country.
After he returned my charger, he didn’t just say thank-you but attached a lovely thank you note. Later, I discovered a box of candies hanging from my hotel door telling me once again how kind I had been. But who really was the most kind? I have learned much about giving, kindness, and respectfulness from my Asian encounters, planned and otherwise.
Another chance encounter occurred in the swimming pool of my hotel with a 7 year old Caucasian girl from Hong Kong. She was holidaying with her parents in Thailand and proud to tell me that she was born in Hong Kong. When I asked what was her favorite subject in school, she enthusiastically told me it was Mandarin. She promptly began teaching me how to count to ten and taught me a little song in Mandarin. No one had ever taught me to speak Mandarin before.
Professional encounters have also made for great learning and transforming opportunities. For the past eight years, my professional life has been perhaps the most rewarding, meaningful, and fun of my entire 40 year career. I have been able to combine my devotion to my teaching/writing about families experiencing serious illness with my zeal for international travel.
Lovely invitations to lecture in various parts of the world have enabled me to present at universities, conferences, and hospitals about the illness beliefs of health professionals and families; illness suffering and spirituality, and most particularly, how to invite healing. Check out my website www.lorrainewright.com for places visited.
In turn, I have been retooled and reworked to become a better health professional and I believe a better person overall. In short, I am less judgmental, more open to other cultural beliefs, more open to serendipity experiences, and less concerned with possessions (which is very freeing). I have transposed these professional travel experiences and other travel lessons of living simply, slowing down, and ‘being where you are’ in my life at home.
I look forward to more chance encounters like the recent ones with a handsome, kind Thai man and a 7 year old from Hong Kong in addition to all my illuminating professional encounters.
Yes, travel has the power to transform and enlighten, if we let it.
Where are you traveling next? What are you open to learning? What are you open to giving?
Happy travel encounters,