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Appreciating the Little Things in Life through Travel

Updated on December 13, 2011

I recently returned from a trip to South America where I was visiting my brother, sister-in-law, and baby nephew. There is nothing like traveling to make you appreciate all the conveniences of life. We often just come to expect all of our modern conveniences and fail to appreciate them, but when they are removed from our everyday lives, we realize how much we rely upon them.

Would you even consider taking a shower without turning on any hot water? This isn’t even an option in many places. The concept of a hot water heater does not even exist. When you go to turn on the water at the sink or in the shower, there is only one knob to turn, and it’s cold. Luckily for me, it was summer time when I was visiting, so a cold shower doesn’t feel so terrible. I realize a cold shower or washing the dishes in cold water does not sound bad when it is 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside. However, when it is 40 degrees with no heat, it’s a slightly different story.

One thing I am always very aware of is anything pertaining to the roads. I spent several summers working for our city’s street department, and I am very perceptive of the streets wherever I travel. For any of you who live in cold weather states, we are used to what the snow and salt do to the roads. By the end of the winter, we know where all the potholes are in our regular commute. We get upset about a little pothole that has gone unpatched. It is entirely different story where I was in South America. Over 50% of the roads are cobblestone. If you think a random pothole or some joint failure on a street is bad, it is nothing compared to a cobblestone road. The potholes there, which never seem to be repaired, resemble craters. The road is extremely rough, and you cannot drive quickly. Also, the car takes quite a bit of abuse. It makes you, and your car, appreciate driving on concrete and asphalt roads.

These are just a couple things that stood out to me, but there are many more little conveniences that we enjoy each day and don’t even consider. I think it is crucial for everyone to take a step back and realize how easy and comfortable most of these modern conveniences make our lives. We need to quit taking everything for granted and appreciate how good we have it. Not everyone else in the world is privy to such luxuries. Many things have become so natural to us, and we just expect them to be there. I think a little travel can do everyone some good. Yes, it may take us out of our comfort level, but that also gives us an opportunity to grow. Having the chance to travel and see other parts of the world can allow us to appreciate what we have become accustomed to in the comfort of our own homes.


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    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joelipoo 6 years ago from Ohio

      @Bella - Thanks. I agree with everything you said. My parents raised me to appreciate what I have, and that makes a huge difference. My brother has no desire to even move back to America due to the materialistic nature of people here.

    • Bella Nina profile image

      Bella Nina 6 years ago from USA

      Very good hub. I love the point you are making about how little appreciation most of us have, and how much we take so much for granted in our daily lives.

      Gratitude is a powerful thing. We all need to realize how blessed we are to live in this country. I think many people just don't have anything to compare, and so we accept our lives, and think of our conveniences as normal.

      I grew up in a home with little money, and was literally homeless on several occasions. I can't stand to see food wasted, and I hate waste of any kind. I think we all need to take a big dose of appreciation for what we have. Thanks for bringing all of this to our attention.

    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joelipoo 6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks Rachel

    • Rachel Richmond profile image

      Rachel Richmond 6 years ago from California

      I agree with your observations about traveling to recognize the conveniences of the States. Expect nothing and watch what is learned. Great hub.