During the 24+ hours I was on a plane back from Melbourne, Australia, I had plenty of time to reflect on the value of the trip. My mind began to once again remind me how much I enjoy going to Australia, a great country, good people and a place with a general positive vibe. I experienced tasty food, including yummy meat pies; a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert with a refined crowd that mingled and drank wine beforehand (truly a unique experience coming from the New York area); my first time attending an exciting, high scoring game of Footy (AFL - Australian Rules Football); and, shopping in small boot stores for authentic, Australian made Uggs. Understand, I was really there on a business trip, where when we were in the office it was all business and long days. However, after work, it made sense to enjoy the country that I came to visit.
My children have had the opportunity to visit other countries. In addition, we had the amazing chance to host a German exchange student for two weeks, where we shared our area of the world with her and learned about the area of the world she is from. I feel blessed that my family has had these experiences and would like to continue visiting other countries in the future. The outcome is really twofold. First, we have been able to embrace other cultures and meet various people from where we have been. Second, it gives us an appreciation of how we are all different, yet in many ways we are the same. When you travel through some of the countries, it was not unusual to see roadside shacks with people selling fruit, or wander down a street past 3 room small houses. It gives perspective on what we have compared to other people. However, once you get past the visual presented by the homes, these family units still strive to put food on the table, have a roof over their heads and want better lives for their children.
When you are at work, like I was last week, you are dealing with business issues, which are, generally speaking, the same no matter what country you are sitting in. By stepping outside the office environment, one can interact with the part of the world one is in. While reading books, listening to tales of past trip taken, or watching TV and movies paint a portrait of the different areas of the world, there is nothing like going, doing and sharing in an international adventure with your family.