Before I turned 12 I had been in every state west of the Mississippi plus LA, MS, AR, MO, MI, IL, all due to my father's profession. We lived in many of those places Alaska being my favorite. I loved to sit alone with my dad on the beach fishing watching whales surface off in the bay, just us two. But I digress we finally settled on the CO/WY state line in time for me to begin middle school. Have called this place home since. As an adult I have further traveled the lower 48 as well as one amazing summer in SE Asia. My time in the Philippines was for graduate school. The true education was to learn the people & culture. I found my most treasured experiences were with families that had the least to offer. One such family living in a shanty town. Their home made from collected tin & cardboard. The meal they had when I was there was amazing and so much of it. I did not know until leaving when my friend told me they had used their entire savings to buy the food for ME. I felt terrible for their sacrifice but for them I was told it was an honor, one they would talk of for years. I had planned to repay them somehow without embarrassing them. Two days later a typhoon struck. I went back the day after and their home, that family was gone... No matter where you go strip away the colors, the accents & borders you find people are the same everywhere. The true difference being the flavors so to speak when it comes down to culture. The more of those you are fortunate to experience the better everything comes into focus. If you are able when traveling be it here in the U.S. or the other side of the planet, the best times in my experience were always off the beaten path. Having no expectations makes every moment memorable.
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