Web Editor’s Note: This is part three of a three-part series. To read part one, click here and click here for part two. You can view photos of the trip here.
Returning to Texas from Honduras was much harder than expected. The readjustment made at the Houston airport was minor compared to visiting my family home in Amarillo on March 8.
Leaving Las Piscinas meant abandoning a beautiful world for a more selfish one. The first night back, I stayed in Canyon to process the transition. There was comfort in the isolation of my room, because the silence welcomed my memories. I held my Honduras jacket and fell asleep.
The next morning in the shower, I cranked the “C” knob higher remembering the cold water in Honduras. When I returned to my room, I turned on a Spanish speaking radio station and made black coffee. These Honduras imitations were familiar and helped confirm my journey was real.Communicating with other ambassadors the first day back was much like using a vital lifeline. They, too, were struggling to reconnect and fit the mold of their old lifestyles.
Within the next days, ambassadors met repeatedly seeking comfort and compassion. Gatherings were always as dramatic as ten-year reunions, yet as comfortable as casual conversation.
It was odd seeing everyone so clean. We now knew each other in exhaustion and filth. Together we survived a week absent of cosmetics and masks, and became a family.
Each day in Canyon became easier with the support of our travel advisers Kendra Campbell, director of First Year Experience and Dr. Wade Shaffer, provost. Without their empathy, it would have been more difficult to find motivation for my schedule.
However, my priorities had shifted. My stressful days became absent of excessive anxiety and were replaced with friendship and laughter. The trip encouraged exploration of questioning who I was and who I could become.
I kept Honduras with me to refrain from the materialistic lifestyle I had. I attempted to live simpler and shared my experiences explaining the beauty in poverty.
Traveling abroad changed my life. One week in a foreign country showed more than a semester on campus. Leaving home tested my patience, questioned my values and built my character.
As Charles Horton Cooley once said, “to get away from one’s working environment is ..to get away from one’s self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change.”
So, what are you waiting for? Dare to explore and change your world.