Train Whistles, Car Horns, and Airplane Engines

There are certain sounds in the world that evoke adventure and excitement. Three of them happen to be train whistles, car horns, and airplane engines. If you hear those sounds you know that something is happening and things are moving. There is something magical about travel. 

Mark Twain said…travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness

When I was fourteeen I took my first trip to Europe with my family. We spent five weeks traveling throughout. One place that struck me was East Germany. The wall was still standing and we had to go through Checkpoint Charlie to get between East and West Germany. The dogs, the machine guns, the barbed wire and search stations left me in no doubt that we were not free to roam and be tourists. It was my first encounter with communism and it left a lasting impression.  I do not take for granted my freedom or the price millions paid for it. 

When I was teaching in Japan, there was a demonstration near the Tokyo government district. The hosts we were with let us know that some of those people might be arrested for speaking so boldly in public. The crowd was not happy with how the Diet (their senate) were making decisions, so they took to the street. It made me appreciate the freedom with which we open our mouths in the US, and the price others pay for speaking their minds. 

Travel provides the opportunity for us to see how other people live. It reminds us of our abundance and freedom. It also opens our minds to other ways of thinking. Not everyone thinks like we do or see and experience the world in the same way. When I hear a train whistle I think of all the people who move back and forth making their lives work. I think of how many of them are wokring hard to provide for their families, and how many want to speak up but do not out of fear. Travel marks you forever, it leaves you knowing that your world is not the same as everyone else’s world. Travel changes you, simply by doing it. 

Take time to go and see somewhere other than where you live. Find out how other people spend their time, energy and money…even if it is only in the town next door. Once you see you will be changed. Let the whilstles, horns and engines sound!

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