I believe the most well rounded traveler is one that can travel to a place like Kenya and leave not resenting the United States. Your reality is challenged when you go to a country so dramatically different. It is difficult not to spend the whole trip comparing the two different worlds: the level of happiness of the people, the living conditions, the political structures, the quality of life, etc. I believe there is a way to embrace the contrast without making comparisons. By acknowledging the differences, it allows me to take home the experiences that will impact my life back at home. One observed contrast that I am currently dealing with, Gratitude.
American luxuries becomes assumed and entitled, instead of appreciated and respected. It amazes me that while I am in Kenya, a sweet piece of Mango fulfills all my taste buds. A bucket of boiled water to bath with is a sensation to look forward to and watching the African sunset fall behind a red soiled road is a moment I stop for, yet in the United States I so quickly complain. I whine about having to go to the grocery store where healthy produce is unlimited. I am dissatisfied by the lack of water pressure in my temperature-controlled shower and the huff under my breath with annoyance when the sun is setting into my eyes while trying to drive down the 405. Why is it so easy for Kenyan’s to feel grateful for the most simple things, but a society given so much never seems satisfied. Better yet, why is it so easy for me to feel grateful in Kenya, but so quickly revert back to ungrateful ways once I enter the United States? I do not resent the United States for this behavior; I am just more confused way it feels so natural. The fact that Kenyans are so grateful for the little they have, sparks a firm commitment for me to be grateful for the masses I have been given. Maybe that is it. Maybe it is the reality of how much I truly have to be grateful for that overwhelms me. Maybe I am unable to completely comprehend truly everything I have been given in my life. Maybe the great family, reliable health care, stable government, encouraging education, loving boyfriend, comfortable home, nutritionist food, etc is too much to conceptualize. Too much to think about. Why I would be given so much and why would another be given so little. Maybe that is why, in a screwed up way, it is more difficult to be grateful. It’s because we have so much to be grateful for that the simple things go completely unnoticed.