When I Travel

When I travel across an island like Java, Indonesia, and I breathe the smog and see the ultra poor… I calm down.  Although I may get caught up in my local politics, and the worries of day to day living, I am reminded that some of these people cannot fathom the luxury of my life.  (And I’m ashamed that I’ve gone to the trouble to ask the plumber on my ship to adjust the valve on the shower so my warm water can be piping hot.)

When I travel across an island like Java, I grow uptight.  How could any American ever complain about one thing?  How could they not see that a huge expansive world full of opportunity is at their fingertips, and not take advantage of this incredible birthright?

When I travel across Java in a police escorted caravan of motor coaches, while our guide tells us he wants us to feel like kings and queens because we have come to visit – and children and elderly are waving to us from the roadsides, I feel that I’m some sort of goodwill ambassador, and I smile my broadest smile, waving as cheerfully as I can, all the while choking back tears.


When I make the two hour drive across Java to tour an ancient Buddhist temple, and Muslim families approach this Christian woman, wanting a photo with a tall, blonde headed American… the family of three generations squeezing into the photo, and all of us laughing and shaking hands… I am overcome with joy at the moment.  And I am overcome with sadness that a ridiculously small percentage of people can wreak such havoc on our lives.



When I eat a traditional Javanese meal, the tastes and smells take me back to my earlier days in the Pacific, and I am overcome with emotion as the senses fill my mouth.



When I travel across Java, the day after a terrorist plot has been thwarted, and the kidnapping of Westerners has been called for… and my Muslim guide – who has sung John Denver songs and Dutch lullabies to serenade us – asks us to please go home and tell our country that it is safe to come to Indonesia, and he smiles a wonderful smile saying, “no more terrorists”, I smile back through watery eyes, wishing it could forever be so.


When I travel across an island like Java, I have discovered my newest definition for being incredibly and amazingly overwhelmed.


9 Responses to “When I Travel”

  1. Kim Mann says:


  2. Lawanda Calton says:

    I’m thankful for your message, Sandy. It gives new meaning to the words “sight seeing tour”!

  3. Jan Ainsworth says:

    Sandy, I am so excited to read your posts…..there is NO WAY I will ever be able to travel and see what your are seeing….so I will vicariously live this trip through you! Thank you!

  4. Katie says:

    I love the photos!

  5. Sharon says:

    Wonderful article. Happy to know you are safely home.

  6. Clara thomas says:

    Wow , Your words and your description of where you have gone so feel like I am with you. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us.

  7. Betty Williamson says:

    Beautiful photos and heart-wrenching descriptions. Thank you.

  8. Marcea Clive says:

    Thanks for sharing. Love the photos.

  9. Sandra says:

    As i read this, i put myself on what you were feeling and Sandy it made me appreciate a lot of my blessings…thank you for sharing

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