I find myself in this small Mexican town of Todos Santos very much a foreigner. I look different, dress different, and don’t speak the language (yet). As I wander through a streets and eat at the restaurants, so many people smile, make eye contact, and say Hola. They are real and authentic and living their best life. The people are genuine and helpful, and show pride in their small community.
On a street with row after row of small stores I met the owner of the local book store with the most magnetic and happy personality. She cracked jokes with my husband and cracked us up.
At a local restaurant owner by two brothers, I met an older couple who have travelled the world and have so many interesting stories to tell. They are an inspiration.
I met two chefs at a restaurant on the beach. They talked about having passion for life and about the importance of being able to do what you love each day. They are living their best life.
Here’s the thing. I hear people say all the time that they love their job or that they are passionate about their job, but then the next moment they are complaining about it, looking for reasons to take off, or quitting and looking for the next best thing. These two young chefs really seemed to enjoy what they were doing. It didn’t seem to be an act. It’s kind of hard to describe, but you could feel the authenticity in these guys. They were real and honest and living life.
I remember thinking what a great way to live – waking up every day and doing something you are passionate about. Something you love. We, as Canadians, live in a society where happiness is often measured with money and cars and homes and things and power. Worth is too often judged on what you have and not who you are. Decisions are made based on what can we do for ourselves instead of what we can share with others. The lines are very blurred between needs and wants.
I want to remember everyone has a story worth hearing and I want to listen. I want to appreciate and learn about different customs and lifestyles. I want to recognize that coming from a place with more power, money and things doesn’t mean I know more. I want to appreciate how lucky I am. I want to focus on my needs more and wants less. I want to never forget how good people are. All people.
One of my children has been bitten by the travel bug. She backpacks around the world, by herself, staying in hostels, making friends wherever she goes. I hope my other two children will learn the same lessons that traveling has taught me. I want them to see that the world is a big place, that so many adventures await them if they have the courage to try new things, that you can find goodness and similarities in faraway places, that some of the most beautiful places and experiences are off the grid or tucked away, that finding what makes you happy may be the greatest treasure you discover, and that taking the time to meet new people will expand their thinking and open their minds.