Most of you know how passionate I am about traveling, I've been to nine countries in the last few years, and had no plans of stopping until now. It's where most my money goes, and I've made many sacrifices to get to those places, but who has it been for? Being on the road is enriching and exciting for me, but is it meaningful to others? In the whole scope of the world, does it mean anything all? In traveling, do I enrich the lives of others, or am I only thinking of myself?
I've realized that thus far in my life, I have never really been generous. Sure, I give money here and there to good causes when I can, but that's just the thing, generosity isn't giving when it's convenient to you, it's not giving in small enough amounts so that you can continue living the life you're accustomed to, it's not giving only when you've already covered the costs of everything you want and need. Generosity is reckless, it's irrational in the face of our consumerist culture, but if it is genuine, it will radically change you, from inside out. It takes risk, it takes faith, it takes going out on a limb.
I have to put my money where my mouth is. For me to be empathetic, compassionate, and loving, I must demonstrate this not just with my tongue, and the words that come forth from it, but in the way I live, in the way I spend my money, and in a country where much of life seems to revolve around money, making it, spending it, this isn't always easy.
I have decided, at least for the time being, to give up traveling. This is not a sacrifice taken lightly, indeed it has been with tremendous difficultly and a little bit of heartbreak, but there are five beautiful reasons for this decision, and their names are Christine, Soha, Luz Elena, Relebohile, and Kogulam. They are between the ages of 9 and 14, and live in Zimbabwe, India, Nicaragua, Lesotho, and Sri Lanka, and I am their sponsor through World Vision. The thing is, I didn't really have the money to sponsor five girls around the world, without sacrificing something, or many things, in my life, but their worth is far greater than taking a trip for myself or indulging in any materialism.
At the end of my life, I will never remember the things I could have bought with the money that I instead give to their education, well being, and future, but I will remember them, and when you enrich someone else's life, they will most likely enrich others, and the effects of this will ripple through families and communities, and perhaps, never perish.
Please don't misunderstand me, this isn't intended to be a judgement of those who still want to or do travel, or who spend their money in different ways, I respect you must make your own decisions, but I refuse to let society pressure me into living a lifestyle that I cannot justify. At the end of every day, I am responsible for my choices, the life I live, the love I give.
I will say this though: I don't think I have some special calling to help others, rather, I think we are all made to love and lift each other up. I have always said that people will do what they want the most, and my desire to see the world in others has overcome my desire to see the world. If I do travel someday again, I want it to be with greater meaning and purpose, not just to myself, but to others. I want to be giving more than I take, when I hit the road.