I’m currently reading another one of Paulo Coelho‘s books and pulled this excerpt out.
“When you travel, you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don’t even understand the language the people speak. So you are like a child. You begin to attach much more importance to the things around you because your survival depends upon them. You begin to be more accessible to others because they may be able to help you in difficult situations. And you accept any small favor from the gods with great delight, as if it were an episode you would remember for the rest of your life. And at the same time, since all things are new to you, you see only the beauty in them, and you only feel happy to be alive.”
I love the idea that traveling makes you more “childlike”. My learning curve while I’m abroad is off the chart…every new person, every new day, every new experience, both abolishes stereotypes and opens my mind to things I couldn’t have even fathomed the day before.
In Nicaragua, I remember holding this fruit. It was dark green on the outside and looked kind of like an artichoke in contour, but it didn’t have actual “leaves”. When we sliced it open, it dripped the most florescent pink juice I’ve ever seen in my life. The color dyed the table and our mouth and hands instantly. Its insides were a mixture of stringy meat and small black seeds. It tasted…well, it was like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. It was wonderful. And as I held that fruit…all I could think was, how many more fruits like this exist in the world? This thing in my hand…it isn’t in my encyclopedia. There probably isn’t any “official” name for it, save what the local Nicas call it. This fruit…it doesn’t exist in my “American world”. Where did I get the idea that I had somehow known the limits of the exotic fruit world…mango right?
So the “unnamed fruit” was a harsh reminder of what an ignorant life I lead, but more importantly, it was a sweet reminder that there are so many more worlds of “reality” yet to be experienced…and of course, it was also just one more “small favor from the gods” that I accepted with great delight.