There is something truly wonderful about travel. I have been blessed in the past to be able to visit a number of other countries. I have been to Egypt, France, England, China, Mexico, Switzerland, Bolivia, Peru, Spain and I lived in Okinawa for a year. The Okinawa year was when I was quite young and with a former husband, not a really, really great experience. David and I never really traveled as Americans. We have always been aware of the “ugly American syndrome” and truly did not wish to participate in it. We did not make any reservations other than airline. Although to be honest, I brought that sort of travel to an end in 1996 when we arrived in Seville without Hotel reservations after having driven from Madrid. I was 50, it was hot, we were dirty and very tired. Exhausted, looking for a hotel while driving down streets no wider than the car was not my idea of fun. But we survived and we were introduced to Tapas.
Travel, if you allow it to do so will open your mind to the rest of the world. You will see people other than those to whom you are accustomed. You will see things through their lens. When visiting ancient cities or ruins should you take the time you can see things through the lens of those who once were. I believe that travel builds compassion, empathy, sensitivity, mercy and tolerance towards others within the individual traveler. Traveling is about real connection with another culture. Visiting Machu Picchu was something that I wished to do since I was 8 years old. I did not grow up with a television but instead had a subscription to National Geographic Magazine. How I loved it. It opened up for me new vistas and made me aware of the world that was “out there.” I had my first yearnings to connect with others, different from myself.
It is difficult to select a favorite trip. I remember incredible aspects of each country that we have visited. Below is a poem and a few photos from one of my favorite trips: Machu Picchu, Peru. I was privileged to be able to engage a native shaman while on my trip to Peru. At Machu Picchu my husband went one way and I another to do ceremony with the shaman. Later we met up and navigated the mountain. One of the important things that happened to me while there was that I lost my rapidly growing fear of heights. The only way up the mountain was by bus. The road was one bus-wide. Looking out my window straight down the mountain face was frightening. Really frightening! It was at that point that I said to myself, enough! I will no longer be afraid of heights! By the time that I was on top of the mountain my fear was gone. I knew that this was true when I walked up to the edge of of the plateau and dangled my foot over the edge. I was so grateful for that loss, it was life changing.
Still, stillness now
– Liz Rice-Sosne
© 2013, essay and photographs, Liz Rice-Stone, All rights reserved
LIZ RICE-SOSNE a.k.a. Raven Spirit (noh where), perhaps the oldest friend to Bardo, is the newest member of The Bardo Group Core Team. She is also our new Voices for Peace project outreach coordinator and our go-to person for all things related to haiku. She says she “writes for no reason at all. It is simply a pleasure.” Blogging, mostly poetry, has produced numerous friends for whom she has a great appreciation. Liz is an experienced blogger, photographer and a trained shaman. We think her middle name should be “adventure.”