"I’m coming home inspired. After this time with these nomads, people who re-define the lower limits of poverty for me, it’ll be easier to take less on the road with me. It’ll be easier to live on less. It’ll be harder to withhold help where I can give it. These trips always change me.
I’m often asked if I get culture shock when I go away. My stock answer is that I get culture disappointment when I come home. When I get home people stop looking others in the eye and smiling. They stop shaking hands and asking who I am, how I am, and how my family is doing. They stop offering me tea. We’re either too busy chasing the trivial or we just don’t care. One of my guides during the safari workshop said to me: “Westerners all have watches, but we Africans have time”. It’s true. For people who believe time is money, we sure spend it in some strange ways and on things that will not last. There’s a pace in Kenya that I love, that I’m already beginning to miss, knowing I’m back to schedules and itineraries so soon."
If you substituted the word Mexico for Kenya, it would describe exactly how I feel about the trips I've taken there, and how it has changed my life. The things that mattered to me before don't matter so much anymore. I live in an apartment the size of a postage stamp, and I love it. I have no desire to be anywhere else right now. When I think about the way some of my friends in Mexico live, I realize I am blessed beyond measure. And the quote the man made about time describes exactly the way it is in Mexico. I remember thinking during the ten weeks that I spent there that I had never seen time go by so slowly in all my life. Some days it felt never ending, and some days it was a gift. One thing was for certain, everything in Mexico took time, and there was time for everything. Some days when I am going about my frantic life I really, really miss that.
This trip is coming up so fast, and most of the time I feel totally unprepared for it. Sometimes I wonder if I will feel the same way when I return, because many times I forget about the fact that I am actually going back. The busyness of our North American lives has a way of stealing those things away like that. It's something that you have to be intentional about maintaining. But whenever I take the time to look back at pictures, or things that I had written while I was in Mexico, or talk to someone about my experiences there, that same fire begins to burn again deep inside of me. I think I know that the embers are always there, they just have to be fanned into life every once in a while.