Nothing opens the mind like travel. Exploring new places, learning the stories of new people, using skills we do not exercise in our “real” lives; these things require an open mind. Our minds work harder when we travel. We are challenged and educated and inspired.
I found this to be true on our trip to New York City this summer. My mind worked as we walked the busy streets. I contemplated how the city can be simultaneously covered in concrete and environmentally conscious. How materialism can live along side of art. How inspirational music can pour out of little corner bars all over the city without much of the world even taking notice.
There is magic in this city. There was magic in the music that brought us here.
We wanted our kids to experience Xavier Rudd live and were thrilled to find an all ages show at a winery/restaurant where the kids would all have their own seats. (No worries about drunken concert goers falling all over them) We shared the evening with musicians and people who care about the environment and social justice. Musicians who said, “Listen. Take what you like. Leave what you don’t.” People who checked with our kids to make sure they could see the stage. People who thanked us for bringing our kids to the show. Musicians who talked about consciousness versus activism. About taking action to better the world. About saving the land. About native people everywhere.
And while they sang two out of three of our kids to sleep, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude. For music. For people. For cities that serve as gathering places for all kinds of people. And for my kinds of people. Xavier ended with my eight year old’s favorite song. I saw the recognition come across my boy’s face. He listened, leaning against my left side, his sleeping brother against my right side and my daughter asleep in my husband’s arms on the other side of him. All five of us connected in this beautiful moment as the room filled with voices. These are the moments travel gives us.
We explored the city.
We rode the subway.
We saw the statue of Liberty.
We partied like rock stars.
But mostly, we were challenged and educated and inspired.
What places do the same for you?
- Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor New Jersey
- The work of Inclusion