I am often asked why I decided to write. I gave up a successful career in finance for which I had earned an executive MBA and a professional designation, a career that allowed me to live abroad and get paid for it. Simply, I wanted to refocus my energy towards a simpler, healthier lifestyle. And discovering new cultures has proven to me over and over how much I have yet to learn about our planet and how we are all connected.
Yet shards of animosity have surged in the current climate and have transformed into a virtual hailstorm pummelling our world. You can see the tension wearing people down. People with opposing views are becoming more isolated from each other and are unable to bridge or even discuss their misunderstandings with one another. At times it seems there is no common ground. Still, the more I travel and meet people from different backgrounds, religions and countries, the stronger my belief that we are more alike than not. So I ask myself, “How can I help bring people together and make the world a better place?”
This quest is an unanswered puzzle to which I cannot quite see all the pieces. For now, I will continue to travel. I will continue to write about these experiences in a way that presents a different perspective on a place or a population than what people might expect. I want to pull apart the walls of bias that shift and morph general perception. Instead of overlaying assumptions from our own culture, let us try to delve in and better understand why someone somewhere else does things differently.
In any case, why is being different considered so scary? Bananas have over a thousand different varieties. Are you scared of a banana? Orchids alone split into more than 25,000 species. Yet do florists wince when a mixed bouquet is placed on a table? When we set the dining table, we give each setting a fork, a spoon, a knife and maybe even a butter knife or soup spoon. Each utensil has its use, yet I have never heard someone say a knife is less worthy than a fork or try to ban a setting of teaspoons. People realize that these tools each offer value and it would be senseless to consider one better or worse than another. Difference is a necessity. It helps society function, to be more efficient and to have depth.
So peel away your assumptions and get ready to unwrap secluded places and far-off cultures. In the following pages, find contradiction that captivates and uniqueness that inspires.