Monday, September 16, 2013

Travel and Growth

As humans, we like to believe that we are living for something greater than ourselves. That perhaps, our lives are just random but play a role in a grander plan. Travel, which depends greatly on discovery, is a journey to find the something greater and to appreciate things that are grander than the human condition. It is why so many people flock to beautiful locations, such as Italy or France, or maybe even Baltimore. It is so that they can feel something, learn something new about themselves and maybe even be moved towards a greater understanding of their purpose in life. It is for this reason, that the narrator in Albert Wendt's book, Black Rainbow, goes on a journey to reclaim his family. In the onset of Black Rainbow, the narrator lives a life that seems to be purposeless. His life is mundane, almost boring, seemingly driven by blind allegience to the Tribunal. His life is dictated by the commands of the Tribunal and not much of his life involves the travel of self discovery. He doesn't even admit to his dreams, as they break away from the routine and lifestyle decided for him by the Tribunal. Throughout the narrator's travel, or rather, adventure, to find his family, he discovers more about himself. For example, when dealing with the hotel receptionist, we see the narrator experience extreme anger (51). He becomes so angry by the rudeness of the receptionist, that he tells her boss that he "could've killed her" (51). He quickly realizes that this breaks the character expected of him by the tribunal and dismisses this feeling. This is the first time we see the narrator display true passion, suggesting this journey may be one of self discovery for the narrator. This also suggests that travel allows people to deepen their understanding of themselves and grow as a person, in ways that they may not have expected. Not only does that apply for the narrator in Black Rainbow, but also for myself. In my travel to Belize City, Belize on a mission trip, I learned something new about myself that has stuck with me and contributed to the formation of my character. I became incredibly ill during our travels, because in an attempt to absorb as much of the culture as possible, I ate everything offered to me by the villagers we visited. In my time being sick, I realized that I had a tendency to take care of others, but had trouble letting others take care of me. I had to learn how to let my weaknesses serve, as not allowing others to take care of me, deprived them of the fullfillment brought to them by caring for others. This supports the notion that travel contributes to understanding the greater meaning of life, and allows us to grow personally.

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