My kids teach me a lot. Sometimes I think they teach me more than I will ever be able to teach them…especially when it comes to life. Children don’t filter themselves, their thoughts or what they loudly blurt out in a crowded airplane or elevator. They live life without filters and have this built-in tolerance for people who are “different” than them. This “life with no filters” can be painful and oftentimes embarrassing, but many times they hold some of the most important life lessons. Lessons we as adults too often forget. Inspiring lessons, part of my travel inspiration.
On our last trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico we had plans to spend a day at the beach with some good friends who live there. A few hours before we met up we learned their two children spoke very little English. Ours speak even less Spanish. Oye Vye! All I could think was, ‘This day is going to be a disaster!’ The kids would be frustrated and asking us to interpret every five minutes. They would never give us – the adults – a chance to catch up.
Enter “life with no filters”
Within five minutes of reaching the beach house the kids were in the backyard playing chase. Squirting one another with water guns. Hunting for crabs. Pulling each another on the water toys and jumping in the waves. Language didn’t matter. The color of their skin was not important. The fact they couldn’t speak to each other, but only laugh, run around and splash was all that mattered. Having fun was the only requirement. It was truly the only thing they needed to find the joy in being with each another.
By the end of the day they were all snuggled up together on the couch watching a Spanish cartoon. They were best of friends. It never dawned on them they had barely spoken (verbally) to each other all day. All they knew was they had an amazing time and made new friends.
At that moment I wished they could continue living life with no filters. To keep this innocence, openness and tolerance for people, places and cultures that are different than theirs. But they won’t. Inevitably life creates filters. Judgments. Impatience. Fears of the unknown. Ignorance. But this little incident in San Juan with my kids was a simple and powerful reminder that it doesn’t have to be this way. They can have fewer filters in life…everyone can. Essentially, the more people who travel, the more they understand and experience different cultures, the better the world would be.
To create a better world, one where people are more tolerant, respect different cultures and traditions we have to see the world. Not just by watching the Travel Channel or National Geographic but getting outside your comfort zone and seeing a different part of the world. That doesn’t mean you have to go to India, Russia, Italy or another country. It can be going from Grapevine, Texas to New York City. (I promise, it’s a culture shock your first time and can feel just as foreign as traveling from Denver, Colorado to Chita, Siberia.) To create a better world, one where we have fewer filters and more tolerance for people and their cultures, we have to know they exist and experience them outside of text books, magazines and dare I say it, travel blogs.
It’s a colorful world out there. Go see it. Go make it a better place for all of us to live in.