We are just outside the Ngorongoro Crater, at a lodge sprinkled with beautiful touches like an infinity pool and hot showers (hot showers!). My favorite among these touches are these inspirational signs. Whomever wrote them knows my heart, though I come from a continent apart.

Travelling is giving me lots of opportunities to reflect on who I am and who I want to be: to listen when presented with uncomfortable truths I may not wish to consider; to side with compassion over defensiveness against judgmental beliefs that may not be fully informed; and to hold with integrity — and curiosity — to know the difference.

It’s an especially arduous task when travelling, because we are a small band of five, removed from many of our usual trusted sources and routines that normally ground us (for better or worse). And because I’m constantly reminded that the prevailing views of my hometown are only of one many across cultures, each with much wisdom and norms of its own. What a wonderful path to challenge my preconceived beliefs!

There are times when this is hard, and I lose sight of what is real and what isn’t. But even from hard soil blooms some of the most beautiful flowers; and from fertile ground, sometimes nothing. I believe it all depends on what you plant and how you nurture it along.

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