#tbt: malawi, and the magic of travel

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. 

~  Mark Twain

Two years ago today, I had just returned from an epic journey to Malawi with the ONE Campaign and Heifer International.  The image above was one of my favourite shots from the trip.  I love the look of naked curiosity -- perhaps mixed with a bit of distrust? -- on the little girl's face.  I can't blame her, really.  I must have been a sight, this strange woman in strange clothes, with huge cameras criss-crossed over her torso, following her family and friends into their quiet village.

Let's face it:  I looked weird.

And that's the thing about travel that I love, actually.  I mean, I'm all for a trip to an unfamiliar place solely to learn more about it, but I really love trips to an unknown place where I am undeniably a foreigner.  When I don't really know the language and I stick out like a sore thumb, and I'm forced to be resourceful in figuring out how to make connection.  I think it's good for me to be in situations like that -- because when I'm back home, I'm apt to be a little more empathetic to someone who is in similar circumstances.

Just as Mr. Twain said.