Last updated on: Jun 9, 2020
Whether its biodiversity or cultural diversity, the world is more beautiful when every flower is allowed to bloom.
One of the things I love about travel is experiencing something different, something new. After all, it’s diversity of speech, thought, and expression that creates epicenters of culture.
When I travel, I often visit local places that offer a completely different perspective of a place than what is reflected in mainstream society.
One memorable travel experience was my visit to Colombia’s San Basilio de Palenque, the first free African settlement in the Americas.
Visiting Palenque was like going from South America to the American South. The people, stories, and history reminded me of home.
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During my visit to Palenque, I learned about everyday life and how enslaved African women would use their braided hair to map the paths to freedom during slavery.
It’s travel experiences like these that make the biggest impressions on me, but they allow also me to impart my own impressions to citizens of other countries, leaving positive representations of my community and homeland.
When I visited Sweden and other Nordic countries, I learned a lot about cultural practices such as Danish hygge, Finnish sisu, and Swedish lagom.
Though these practices have slightly different meanings, all embrace living a life of gratitude, courage, and moderation.
And I think these practices have something to do with why these countries always rank as the world’s happiest countries.
Danish hygge is a quality of coziness that creates a sense of well-being and happiness. The word derives from an Old Norse term meaning “to give courage, comfort, and joy.”
It’s actually the basis for the English word “hug”, so the best way I can think to describe hygge is the feeling you get when you give and receive a warm hug.
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Sisu is a Finnish concept that encourages a spirit of courageous action and mindfulness. By taking small steps each day, you build your inner strength and will eventually accomplish larger goals, despite any setbacks and failures you may face.
Lagom is a Swedish word that means “just the right amount”, which can be interpreted as less is more. This sustainable philosophy stands at odds with rampant consumerism and encourages Swedes to own only what you need or do all things in moderation. In other words, avoid extreme behaviors and habits.
Sweden is also known for ‘fika’, which is hanging out with friends over snacks and usually coffee. While in Stockholm, I created my own version of fika. Check out my experience below!
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Perhaps the most positive impact from living in moderation would be on the environment. Through better stewardship of the planet, all the world’s citizens can have the opportunity to thrive.
As a highly imaginative person, my mind is always actively dreaming. However, I could not have ever imagined anything that like the beauty of our world.
Whether it’s a Balinese rice terrace or a Bolivian salt flat; whether it’s a Caribbean beach or a Costa Rican rainforest, the world never ceases to amaze me.
My travel experience during the past two years has made me fall in love with architecture and nature all over again, and it has made me appreciate every ocean breeze, every sunset, every second.
What has been your best travel experience? What has travel taught you?