I woke up to news of a shooting in a historic Charleston church today on the heels of the impending deportation of 250,000 Haitians from the Dominican Republic. So it's hard to go on as usual writing about happy things without acknowledging the current events.
I've blogged before about how firmly I believe travel makes more compassionate citizens. I'm not naive enough to think we'd have peace if everyone just took a vacation, but feeling empathy for people with different backgrounds, opinions and lifestyles than our own goes a long way. Take a look at the news and you'll see perpetrators of different ethnicities, age and upbringing. One thing I noticed is many of them live very isolated lives in an echo chamber of similar opinion. Many of these people have very narrow views, rarely interacting with others that don't share them. I'm a big believer in using your passions and gifts to impact the world. We've got to stop buying into this scarcity view that the 'other' is out to take our limited resources, which is what most of these things boil down to. So my challenge to you if you feel powerless to curb the tide of hate, is to strike up a conversation with someone new on your next trip (even if that's on a bus downtown). You'll probably realize the world is smaller than you think and the vast majority of people are all after the same goals.