People who don’t travel cannot have a global view, all they see is what’s in front of them. Those people cannot accept new things because all they know is where they live. – Martin Yan
Months ago, when I began the first steps in pursuing this dream I spoke with many travelers. Almost in unison and utter agreement, the consensus with extended travel is the achievement in reaching the nine week mark, because this is where you feel as though you can live this unique lifestyle for the rest of your life. The passion and sincerity–visible in the eyes and faces gave me hope that I too, can live out experiences and not just the routine of life. I feel as though I have grown more in the past twenty-three days than I have in the past twenty-three months. I am more thankful and appreciative of what I have and even more so, of what I can live without.
Today, I met a new coworker that has more love for America than many I know back home. An illegal immigrant of close to a decade spent in San Antonio, Texas before being deported back to Guatemala, he is the first that I have ever met in my life knowingly. I could not feel more humbled as I am able to place a face to this topic, and while I still understand the need and concerns for border security in the global spectrum, it does make me understand why people risk so much for hopes of a better life, especially after witnessing the extreme difference in the wealthy and the impoverished. At the age of fourteen, Angel left his family and traveled across Mexico alone on a series of buses over the course of forty-five days. I can’t even imagine how difficult and terrifying this must have been. When I was this age my priorities and concerns were girls, sports, and the upcoming weekend plans. Paying Q 6,000 ($800 USD) to a coyote, this small kid was lead through the desert, unsure if he would live to see the next day. Reaching the land of opportunity, he worked a series of difficult jobs sending money back home every chance he could to afford his family access to basic services that I know I took for granted growing up. I’m not trying to persuade anyone on this topic, I just wanted to share his story since it was very incredible to hear firsthand.