It’s fair to say that I am a firm believer in the importance of exploration. As I’ve stated before–when we learn more about others, we learn more about ourselves. I’ve shared a lot about my time spent in Europe, but I feel it is imperative that I stress to you the significance of experiencing many different cultures. Europe was great, but it was only the beginning for me. The root of the lessons I have learned are not specific to the European culture, rather, they derive from the exploration of something new.
Not too long ago I was lucky enough to sit down with a young man who spent five and a half months in South Sudan. A newly found country, lacking an established government at the time. Max Hardy, now 24, embarked on his adventure when he was 20-years-old, in February of 2012. He spent a full nine months preparing for the mission of a life time. He didn’t know what he would find, but he knew it would be great.
Max is a fun, loving, focused, open-minded, curious soul. As I spent time getting to know him and learning about his time in Africa, I discovered that his big take away from Africa was similar to my own take away from Europe. Granted the countries are incomparable, and his time was spent dedicated to others, while mine was spent trying to read maps in foreign languages. Nonetheless, we both learned humility. He saw suffering, and learned that “A bad day here, isn’t a bad life.” I got lost, teaching me that I don’t know everything and asking for help is not only acceptable but imperative. Though I have every intention on taking my new found inspiration that was given to me by Max and setting out for a mission much similar to his– I feel both trips provided life lessons that wouldn’t be found staying at home.
It’s not about where you go, it’s about going.