“It is better to travel well than to arrive.”
Kevin and I have taken the last few days off in order to fly fish and enjoy the beautiful rivers and lakes around us.
As Kevin was tuning our bikes outdoors right next to the lake at a beautiful forested camp spot he commented how lucky we are to be living like this, able to decide in the morning that we would like to spend the day reading and resting by a stunning blue river because we have nothing else more pressing to do. Though neither of us plan to live like this forever, it has really been an incredibly experience which has taught us to slow down and enjoy the little everyday things in life. It’s not uncommon for us to spend our rest days doing “nothing” which for me consists of reading or simply sitting by the water for hours at a time, something I would have considered to be a waste of a day a few years ago when I was caught up in the hustle bustle of modern western life. Now, doing “nothing” is extremely important to me, and something I plan to make time for when we return to the land of constant movement in the USA.
Another important lesson we plan to take back with us is the importance of sustainable living, and with that, the avoidance of the extremely consumption and waste oriented practices the U.S. society has created as a norm. Kevin has now honed in his abilities to think creatively and fix absolutely anything that needs to be fixed with what he has with him, skills he will continue to put to use back home in order to avoid throwing out perfectly good items that could easily be repaired and used once again. For example, out of a thick rope and an o-ring we found at the side of the road, Kevin made me a belt. Of course, back home we may very well go out and just buy a normal belt instead of making one from scrapes, but we will definitely both be much more conscious about whether or not we really need to buy something new, or whether or not there is a less wasteful solution.
I have a book suggestion (requirement is what I actually mean) for everyone reading this, a book which really struck a cord with me after experiencing the oppression and difficulties females in India (and in much of the world) expedience on a daily basis. “Half the Sky” was written by two New York Times writers who, with statistics and dozens of in-depth anecdotal stories from their own travels and careers, show just how important the education and in some cases liberation of women is for the progress of humanity as a whole, both morally, but also, economically. It’s an extremely well researched book which takes you into the very real world of forced prostitution (there are more women slaves today than in the peak of the slave trade in the nineteenth century), genital female cutting (or mutilation), rape, violence and honor killings, and perhaps the most harmful of all, the lack of educational opportunities simply due to their gender which plagues millions of women every single day. We in the west are extremely lucky, and though I know that I consider equality to be my right by birth, I’ve seen and been moved by how untrue this is for the millions who still live in oppression. It’s extremely important for us in the west to realize this ongoing struggle (and this book is a great place to start!) so that somehow, collectively, we can begin to change our world for the better through education, especially through the education and empowerment of the women who have been left behind. So go online and buy it, or find it at your local library, because “Half the Sky” is well worth your time.
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Half the Sky is one of my favourite books – I echo the recommendation!