Long Term Travel requires humility, humbleness and humanity
“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”
- Theodore Roosevelt
I have never met a person too humble to travel, but I have met many who were too proud; there are people incapable of living with other humans, lacking in humanity and humility.
There are rites of passage, there is a time when a boy becomes a man, and if I had a son, I would make one request of him,
“Son, please travel the world as a commoner for one year, live as the world lives, eat as the world eats, and fall in love with the people of this small world we share.”
Learn how we are all the same, and not how we are all different, learn to champion the common people, and you will always be grateful when your mother gives you mac and cheese, and not steak.
My dream is that travel would force his eyes full of romance, with the childish infatuations would be closed, then reopened, he would fall in love with people, as they are, and never want to change them, to become a leader of men, not the boss.
I took this photo in Cape Coast, Ghana, one of the biggest tourist cities in West Africa, President Obama visited this city, a man with too much pride, not capable of getting his hands dirty by visiting all of Africa, his own bloodline, his history, that which made him what he is today.
I asked the girl,
“Can I take a photo of the back of your shirt?”
She said “yes” with great pride, little does she know, I feel sorry for her, and the organization, volunteering in this fashion is a travesty, a scourge, a weakness of pride and vanity. This is not love, it is saying I am the haves, and you are the have-nots, she came to tell the Africans they need help, that they are not capable of helping themselves.
I met two German volunteers who traveled from Cape Coast to Takoradi for the day, and they said to me,
“There are many volunteers and NGO’s in Cape Coast.”
I accidentally replied,
“Yes, I know.”
(Go to any of the biggest tourist areas in any poor country, and that is where you will find all the missionaries, NGO,’s and social workers.)
The two German girls had good intentions, they were about 22, children on a mission to help other children, naïve, and arrogant. More or less, the belief in the master race, and its ability to bend down to help the inferiors of Africa, 99 percent of volunteers on the planet are under the age of 25, with 80 percent wanting to have line on their job resume,
“I volunteered in Africa.”
“I volunteered in Guatemala.”
Believe me when I say,
“I am a good person.”
It is on my job resume, in black and white!
Yes, I live extremely different than West Africans.
I keep thinking about the television show, “Army Wives,” and one of the generals said,
“I believe in leading from the front.”
In the movie, “We Were Soldiers,” Mel Gibson says,
“I will be the first to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off ---
We will all come home together. So help me, God.”
I am presently in Lome, Togo living in an absolutely wonderful compound house, the room cost 4000 CFA per night, or 8 dollars. The over-all living is 2-3 times better than any hotel in the area, more secure, and quiet, and the garden environment outside the room is outstanding. The man who owns the house is a true gentleman, for which I have great respect.
Yet, there are problems with the room, and it is a mystery to me, I try to understand, but in Africa, there are too many chiefs, the same as the USA, nobody is small enough to clean what really needs cleaned. Yes, they will grow wonderful flowers, buy a car, and champion how they rose above the others around them, but somehow they cannot see that being a leader or chief is doing the jobs everyone else refuses to do. Many white people come and buy this, and buy that in Africa, spending money, as if this teaches the locals how to better their lot, by doing what the locals cannot afford to do…
I also believe in leading from the front, in being a good ambassador, in showing the best of America to Africa. There is not enough money on the planet to fix all the social problems that exist, money is of no value, it separates and keeps the poor fully aware, they are poor, that you will never have the money to do this, what we volunteer to give you.
Aaah, this is too F33king stupid, we all have enough money, and time to improve our living conditions to live in a clean, and comfortable home.
I do not clean the stupid sink because I want too, I clean it because someone needs to be responsible, and it is my job, I it is my room, and it needed done.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Stop with the holier than thou shit, do not what needs done, because it needs done, no more, and no less, I believe that is the kindom of God.
Strangely, I argue for things of God, and the Kingdom of God, but often it just all seems too stupid for words, why would a God need worshiped? But I do worship good, but it is hard to worship a God, but I do believe in that somebody needs to tell me how to behave.... hehehe I prove to myself daily, I am not God, there is always someone bigger than me, or something, only by dying wil I know for sure.
Andy Graham, today is the best time to clean my world.
I learned what cleaning was all about very early when I spent 2 summers on my grandmothers farm (7 and 8 yrs old). Grandmothers are leaders and great examples to follow, especially if you want to eat great food and deserts.
But as much cleaning I learned then I really learned how to clean many different places and things in Marine Corps Boot Camp. All military learn this but I do believe the Corps teaches it the best, over and over and over and ovr . . . whew.
Volunteerism is good in many ways and even though the young don't always get it that there is usually politics and at times business behind it, it is still a reasonable learning situation. I remember that I at one time when young wanted to "save" the world from itself and I think this what most young people want to do today as well. Of course as you get older and hopefully better educated (not just in school with text books) and wiser you realize it ain't gonna' happen man. You can't save the world but you can help at least one (maybe more?) other human being if you want to by helping them to respect themselves and others.
I think one of the best organizations there is, is "Big Brothers and Sisters". They start where help is really needed in order to prepare youth for the future as well as giving them what they need in the present.
As for leaders there are various types both good and bad. What upsets me is that there are so many bad ones in politics.
I agree that kids should travel as much as possible, learn other languages and cultures and all that goes with them. Depending on their particular life style they will come to realize how fortunate they are or if their life style is on the downside they may realize they can do better in life. I know not everyone can, this is all generalities.
One of the most important things I learned also young was to laugh a lot and to be able to laugh at yourself as well. This has helped me more than once when traveling.
Today life is better as the bloody sun is out in the Redwood Country where I live which has a lot of fog and rain.