Landing in Dublin airport, the passport control line was agonizingly long. As we snaked our way to the front of the line we could see there were only two agents. One, an officious young man, was moving people through pretty quickly. Ask the questions. Match the passport photo to the face. Stamp the passport. Next.
The other and more elderly man seemed to engage in conversation. I could feel the energy of those in line with me. Just stamp the flipping passport. And of course this was the man I was sent to. He asked me how long I would be in Ireland. Two weeks. Is this a trip for business or pleasure? Neither, really. So, what is the purpose of your visit?
And, without thinking, I said, “I’m here to deepen connections.” His eyes got big. He threw himself back in his chair and laughed. “I’ve been in this job for eight years and that’s the first time I’ve heard that reason for being in Ireland.” We chatted a bit more under the glare of those still waiting in line. He eventually stamped my passport. “Deepening connections,” he said writing it down. “That’s a new one. Have a wonderful visit.”
Deepening connections. It was absolutely why I was in Ireland. Deepening current connections and establishing new ones. Deepening my connection to people and place and myself.
And isn’t that the true gift of travel? Especially to new and unfamiliar places? To become more connected to self. To step into connection with others and understand that we are all more alike than not. To see ourselves rooted in our commonalities, our shared hopes and dreams and aspirations. To see each other heart to heart and soul to soul. To find that there is really no ‘other.’
In this time of growing hatred for ‘other’ isn’t this exactly what we need?
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org