I feel blessed every time I am exposed to a new culture, honestly. It can be such a shock, people will always say: “I can’t believe people like that exist in this world.” But once I see it, of course I have to believe it. What seemed so outlandish before is now right in front of my face and it just makes me remember: Not everyone was raised as I was, and that is okay. This world is way too massive to have one “correct” mindset.

 

            So, needless to say, spending time traveling has exposed me to all different walks of life. People who were not raised in a conventional American household. People who did not just go to school, get a job, and get married. People with no interest in settling down; people out to see all there is to see.

 

            My friend’s mom once said: “Nothing is better or worse, just different.” And what could be more true? I grew up knowing one mindset, and thinking that is the right way. I thought, for a while at least, that those who live differently from me were strange, and those who lived lavishly had such a better life than me. I remember thinking those who spoke out against the conventional belief were wrong and how dare they voice that opinion—how is anyone going to like them?

 

            Thank God I have left home since then.

 A lady, who never really strayed far from her home before, said to my mom the other day: “I’m so happy Anne went abroad, I feel like she is just so tolerant of so many different kinds of people now.” And I like to believe this is true, I really do think that now, whether I agree with people or not, I am cool with how they choose to live their lives. And it just makes me want to lead an unconventional life that much more. Really, I now see no reason why I need to do what I’m supposed to do. I see no reason why I need to explain to people why I choose to do what I did: In the words of Billy Joel, this is my life. We are all on our own journeys, trust your own, trust the journey of others, we’re all ending up in the same place in the end anyways. 

Published by Anne Flamio