Sunday, February 28, 2016

Published 10:31 AM by with 0 comment

Life - The Truth is Out There

Traveling around a huge country like the United States teaches many lessons, but it mostly highlights my own ignorance. What I mean is that I have my own preconceived notion of what a place will be like before I arrive but the actual experience of being there and learning about the area is entirely different. Is this the ultimate road to enlightenment? Maybe not but, in the meantime, I'm enjoying the window view.
(I'm including some photographs I've captured over the past few weeks to accompany my thoughts).

I was educated, if you can call it that, in Ireland. I wasn't career-minded and didn't go to college because I had my sights set on being a rock star. Being educated, at the time, was nothing more than an inconvenience in my life, a hurdle to what I really wanted to do.
Years later, ironically, I had an epiphany; education is important. Not for the obvious reasons of getting a better job, etc. No, it had more to do with realizing that an education meant a greater potential for a rich life experience. To understand things, to know how one thing connects to another, to put things into historical perspective and to have the ability to critically think is...fulfilling! This is what my teachers were trying to tell me all along but my ignorance and resulting arrogance filtered it all out.

Never fear, because this sad story has a happy ending. I met some people along my journey who became mentors and made me want to be smarter. My diploma came from outside of an institution. Under the category of "Education" on my Facebook profile I named "University of Life Experience" as my college. While it sounds facetious, it's actually true.
I feel better now, in later life, that I did finally take the time to read the classics and learn, for example, some history about my own divided country. If nothing else, it gave me the confidence to discuss these things because they were backed up by facts, not uninformed opinion.

Which brings me back to my original thoughts about traveling. I feel like I'm constantly blowing cobwebs of my own ignorant thinking away. I had a preconceived notion of what Mississippi would be like, I was wrong. Its history is so profound that I have an entirely new appreciation for its diversity. Texas, with all its stereotypes and cliches, is full of beauty and kind-hearted, hard-working people. California has been a revelation. I never knew it had such variety of people and landscapes. We've been there the longest and never get the feeling we are stuck in one state (literally or metaphorically). The list goes on and we tackle Alaska this year also. I'm looking forward to gaining a new understanding of that magnificent state.

There is no substitute for experience, as the old saying goes. I'm here to tell you that there's a deep truth in those words. I would encourage as many people as possible to just get out there and do some serious exploring of this amazing world. At the very least, discover what is in your immediate area. You'll be surprised by what you might find and you just may learn something worthwhile.

My Adobe Spark (formerly Slate) presentation of this post is available here

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