The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hakuna Matata

I remember it well. My first year in elementary school had just come to an end and the whole world was in front of me. Soon, when people asked me what grade I was in I could give them a grade number, First. Soon, I had a full six hours to explore Valentine Elementary School and better yet, I was allowed to investigate big kids’ schoolyard. I remember it well. On that last day of school, my mom, sister and I went to see the new Disney movie, The Lion King. The minute the sun rose, bleeding deep pinks and reds and yellows into the blackened screen I turned startled with my hands over my ears.

“Its too loud mommy!” I said.

She left quickly, startled too by the shrieking and screaming coming from the speakers, to ask the theater to turn it down. I waited, my hands over my ears to muffle the noise with my head in my big sister’s arms to protect me. I missed the words to the opening song. I missed the animals lifting their heads toward the sky, I missed the birds leaping freely into the air, and I missed the baby lion being held up to the members of the animal kingdom. I missed the first time he saw the world he would soon explore.

It seems silly to even thinking about it. How can I possibly compare my philosophy of life to the first five minutes of a Disney cartoon? Although I regret to say I may not live by the wise words of Mufasa, or with the energy of Simba or even with the worry free “hakuna matata” philosophy if you will, of Timon and Pumbaa, I find their “Circle of Life” concept to be rather applicable to the importance of studying abroad. The movie opens with a deep booming voice:

From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done.

It is the circle of life that keeps this planet spinning and we, as citizens of the world must embrace all we can do in our allotted time. Travel for many is a life changing experience. When a traveler is able drown them self in cultures entirely different and able to emerge with a new state of mind then something great has been

Each adventure contains hundreds of events that alter ones path, affect ones growth and ones challenges. Through these foreign experiences, maybe others will come to adopt a philosophy of life, which is greatly centered on the idea that a life without exploration is not worth living. There is so much that exists past our own front doors, around the corners from our own gravel driveways, on the other side of this very planet. This exposure and drive to understand a foreign world will in turn provide one with a better insight into one’s own life, thoughts and actions.

By the end of Lion King I was fully captivated by a story of a troubled but ultimately brave lion returning to save his family and reconnect with the lioness he loved. It is the circle of life that keeps the world spinning. But if we never explore outside our familiar territory, we may never meet our own version of the goofy duo of a meerkat and warthog. We may never learn our likes or dislikes. We may never find our way back with a new state of mind.

Of course my experiences abroad have taught me a lifetime worth of skills. My travels have taught me that I cannot underestimate anything or anyone including myself. Of course I could say that is all travel has given me. But in reality, more than anything the people I’ve met, the cultures I’ve experienced inspired me to explore the world. As I learned from The Lion King, it is a life rich in exploration that is worth living, because we just never know where a little adventure may take us.



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