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Arizona 2018 - We're more similar than we realize

Traveling by myself has been quite eye-opening for me. It’s a funny thing to see the progress you’ve made in your life so clearly. The old me was probably considered shy on some levels, and I def did not go out of my way to talk to strangers – you know, stranger danger and all of that. But it was also due in part to the massive amount of insecurity I had with myself. Will people like me, will I have anything to say, will we have anything in common? I will tell you – yes, we all have something in common. In fact, the most surprising thing that I’ve recognized is that we are more the same than we are different.

We all have these ideas of groups of people and what society has deemed them to be like. Whether it’s the racial group that we fear, loathe, or simply don’t have the time of day for – the reality is, we can all learn something from each other. The issue is that many of us don’t allow this to take place. We write people off because they look different, have different sexual preferences than our own, or they might have different religious views than our own, the list goes on and on. As humans, we fear that which we do not understand. So, it becomes this vicious cycle of fear and avoidance and we never give ourselves the opportunity to overcome these perceived differences.

On my sojourn into Arizona, I met Debbie Dallas (yes, I know the reference and so did she), a Native American woman who could choose to think that all white people are the devil given what was done to her people. However, we sat and had a lovely conversation while my flat was repaired. She even helped me get onto a tour of Antelope Canyon. Or John Edwards, the fatherly African American man who changed said tire. When we started to get rained on, he warned that his “sweet chocolate would melt”. When I shared with him that I use the same phrase, minus the chocolate part he could have chosen to be offended but we shared a nice laugh. I also encountered numerous couples hiking and exploring the Petrified Forest, Lake Powell, and the Grand Canyon, and had quite lovely conversations with them all. I have no idea what car they drive, what football team they root for or how big their checkbook is, but we were able to connect in those moments.

Traveling by yourself also affords you the opportunity to really be self-sufficient and to go with the flow. For example, I got a parking ticket on the first day, a flat the second and my room was jacked up on the third. But I was able to take all these things in stride and not allow them to upset me. I embraced each one for what it was and continued to laugh and enough my vacation. This is not something the old me would have been able to do. One thing I’ve really been embracing lately is the fact that things are going to turn out exactly as they are meant to. So, a large part of our free will comes into play when we talk about how we will handle those situations. We can choose to be calm and joyful about them or to be pissed off and resistant to them. The choice about how we handle them is all ours, so why not make it a joyous, peaceful experience? You should really try it out 😊

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