Sometimes it’s good to get out into the world and cross some borders. This summer our family drove to Canada–from Georgia–for our vacation. We crossed several state borders along the way, but, of course, the big one was the border into Canada, where we dared to leave our homeland behind, if only for a few days.
And so I’ve been thinking about borders recently. Borders are handy and necessary. We use them to define ourselves, to distinguish between Us and Them. We are Here and do things this way. They are over There and do things differently. Even in nonconformity, our borders define us: although I am Here, I am unique and do this instead. We draw our borders all around. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. But it sure is exciting to cross over now and then.
When we crossed into Canada in early July, we had to show proper identification. Border crossing does not change our identity; it just lets us explore and appreciate more of the world. In the best case, it enables us to get to know Them better, to appreciate There in a personal way, to make connections beyond our usual realm, and to see the world through Their eyes.
Border crossing helps you to examine your assumptions and make new discoveries. In Quebec we learned that a plate of french fries covered with cheese curds and a delectable gravy (a dish called poutine) could be heaven. We also discovered some unique signs appropriate for a place where winter reigns, though they seemed funny to We who live in the land of summer. We found that the simple act of driving can take a challenging turn as the traffic signs converted to French only, and used symbols that were strange to us. Crossing borders keeps you on your toes in exciting, surprising ways.
I love to travel, especially far away. It makes me feel alive and filled with wonder. And our summer trip to Canada was amazing. I recommend traveling as much as possible.
Unfortunately, I don’t get to travel as much as I would like. But, whether traveling or not, there are always borders to cross if we just look for them. I’m not saying necessarily to eliminate borders, as they can be good and useful. But maybe we can consider where borders can, or should, be crossed–if only temporarily–and then watch our world expand.
Where have we drawn lines between Us and Them? Can we reach out and see the world from their perspective for a while? Not that we should all be the same (how dull would that be?), but that we should gain appreciation for our differences and our commonality.
There’s a great, big, wonderful world out there. Go out and explore. And if you can’t go far, then explore where you are.