When I was in elementary school, my older sister spent 18 months on a religious mission in Honduras. The thing I remember most about her stories was how she wouldn't stop telling us how "lucky" we were. Sure, we never went hungry, we never had to sleep outside, and we were (mostly) always fully clothed--though usually in someone else's hand-me-downs. But to my little elementary brain, the thought of being "lucky" was a new one. I was happy, no doubt, but I definitely didn't feel as though I'd won the lottery. After all, I had chores to do every day, 11 brothers and sisters to try and get along with, a freckled face, and not a single puppy-dog. Life was tough.
I recently returned home from quite the unconventional honeymoon. For those who don't know Max and I, that's how we like to do things. I've been hesitant to write about my experiences on the trip--not because I don't want to share, but because I don't know where to start. I could just show you beautiful photos of beautiful places that make you want to quit your job and become a bum (and believe me, I do have some of those), but I would never forgive myself for the injustice of undermining the moments that were truly spectacular. And to me, the most spectacular moments are not just the most beautiful. In fact, sometimes they are downright ugly.
We spent 5 weeks in Southeast Asia, visiting Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar and each day brought with it so much learning and adventure. Putting words to my thoughts, short of writing a book, seems impossible. So, instead, I have decided to pick out just some of the stories and places, and people that really opened my eyes, and made me believe what my sister couldn't say enough those years ago; I am lucky. And not in that "Oh I'm so glad I have it better than them", kind of way. That couldn't be further from the way I feel. In reality, the more I have traveled, the more equal I feel with my human counterparts across the globe. I am lucky, though, because I've been given opportunities to understand that a little better, and it has opened up a whole new way of looking at life, and the people in it. Now, I'm not going to go as far as to say something selfless like I have become a better, more compassionate, loving person through all these experiences. Unfortunately, that isn't true. But by writing them down, I hope one day I will be wise enough to recognize the goodness and blessings I have seen, and have the courage to let them change me. For now, though, I will be content with just feeling lucky.