Globalism – Cultural & Economic Diversity Does Not Divide Us

When I sit back, close my eyes and think of my earliest childhood memories, I remember being entranced by tales of exotic lands, cultures and cuisine. I remember my family sitting around the dinner table talking about the grandeur of the Taj Mahal and the enduring love story that inspired its construction. The conversation led to the mystery surrounding the Great Pyramids and before the conversation could go any further, I was hooked.

My dreams, at the preschool age level, would usually consist of me travelling to an exotic land and somehow being given the royal throne. It was not, however, without a fight for power that involved White Siberian tigers, a fairy-godmother and fireworks. Reality set in as I learned about the tragic endings that followed most monarchies and I actually saw the magnificent and endangered White Siberian Tigers. My dreams of exotic adventures became passions for travel and knowledge.

I am very fortunate to have parents who believe that a well-rounded education includes the understanding and acceptance of people of different races, cultures, religions and economic and political philosophies. It is one thing to study and philosophize, but quite another to tangibly be in the moment. The first trip I remember vividly was a trip to Bali, Indonesia when I was six years old. I remember watching the traditional religious ceremonies of the local people with colorful silk fabric draped around them, singing and playing music and carrying offerings of fresh fruit and flowers. It was magical to me and, at the same time, very foreign. I asked my family so many questions and I learned about the history, culture and religion of the people. I came away from that trip with an unquenchable thirst to experience more places with rich histories and cultures. I would find myself studying about the history of my next vacation prior to the actual trip so it would make the experience far more valuable. My grand plans certainly did help me understand the destination a bit better, but reality is far different from the pages in a book.

I have been fortunate to travel to some of the most amazing places on the planet. I have seen Palaces in Jaipur and Versailles, amazingly beautiful beaches in Australia and Rio, The Great Pyramids and the Taj Mahal and nature’s marvels in the Iguassu Falls and the Himalayan Mountains. At the same time, I have seen the poorest people in the streets of India, the villages of Bali and the Favelas in Rio. Economic differences exist in every country. Families strive to succeed and support one another, as we do here. As we toured the home of a typical Balinese villager, I noticed the intense pride in the patriarch of the family and sensed a ray of hope beaming through the rest of the family members. This renewed sense of hope was prevalent in many of the other families I encountered on my travels. Although the geography and cultures may be different, I have come to realize that people are basically the same. It is this basic premise, with the aspiration of hope and a strong work ethic that will eventually tie us all to a more globalized word.