Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Traveling today...

Sometimes the world seems big and even a bit scary, especially when bad things happen, but the Kusini Collection would like to step back a bit and think about what traveling in the world today means to us and why it's a good thing. The only way I (Lyndsay) can really articulate this is through a few short stories...

While attending university in San Diego, I had the opportunity to study in Nairobi, Kenya. At 18, it was the first overseas experience I'd had, and it left quite the mark on me. The first morning of our program, my first morning in Africa, I rose early for sunrise only to watch hyena dash across the horizon, followed by slow-moving giraffe. The sun was glowing golden, ibis called and that was it, the long love affair with Africa began. After exploring the wilderness, making new friends and even discovering the hidden gems of Nairobi, I cried as the plane took off from Nairobi at the end of the term. I swore I'd return no matter what happened.

After my inaugural visit to Kenya, I studied with a program called Semester at Sea. Toward the end of the journey, we docked in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and my college roommate and I set out to explore. After three days in and around the city, we were tired and hot and rather than spending another day on our own, we decided to join a small group tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels. On this day tour I met a lovely British woman who I started chatted with, and at the end of the day, she invited me and my fiance (we were getting married that summer) to stay at her small home in Wimbledon while we were on honeymoon in the UK. That cozy home in a typical, well-gardened village was truly a highlight of our stay in England. And it all started in Vietnam. Wonderful memories thanks to a small world.

In Hong Kong as a backpacking student, an ex-pat from San Francisco said I looked like I needed a "tasty meal that would remind me of home" and paid for an extravagant lunch at chic Mexican restaurant. He said his daughter traveled in college and he understood the joys and sorrows of life on the road.

In a Datoga village in Tanzania a woman named Uchesa (photo above left) became one of the most memorable people I've ever encountered...simply by sharing her life and telling me she was glad I came to visit her small village that day.

High in the Guatemala highlands a young lady invited me into her home to watch the women in her family weave traditional fabrics. We stayed for hours, laughed, shared stories in broken Spanish and the girls even dressed me up in their traditional clothes. The town was the only town in the region that wasn't completely leveled during the horrible Guatemalan civil war.

I've always had faith that traveling brings humanity together, that it joins us and forges common ground. I still believe this and am thankful every day that I can travel. And that I have faith in humanity. And that I can share the gift of travel with others.

Photos by Lyndsay and Scott Harshman.

1 comment:

  1. Inspiring and heartfelt, Lyndsay. Can't wait for a Harshman/Hocking escapade somewhere awesome with the kiddies!