My parents are jewelers, an unusual enough profession in itself, but their business operations add another unique dimension to their work.
Because they own the company and have kept a small operation, they are able to barter their work. My gregarious mother quickly learns her clients’ occupations and, if possible, proposes a trade of resources. My parents have traded their labor and jewelry for granite countertops, a pool, a surround sound system and, most importantly, travel opportunities.
Esther Mooring has been my entire family’s favorite client, for she has sent us on trips from Canada to Germany to Costa Rica. Esther is an IBM employee who has backlogged extensive rewards with American Airlines, which she gladly trades for her choice of jewelry. My parents have taken full advantage of their strong relationship with Esther and used the benefits to give my sister and I an international perspective on life.
Travel is increasingly popular, as the outlets increase. Universities offer extensive study abroad opportunities. The WWOOF organization sends participants all over the globe to work on organic farms. Many nonprofit opportunities need volunteers for humanitarian projects. Even impoverished places such as India and regions of Africa boast jewels of architecture and nature, attracting thousands of visitors yearly. There is an increasing worldwide awareness of politics, natural marvels and humanitarian needs.
However, while the opportunities for travel are expanding, the obstacles to travel remain for many people. Money and time are the most common obstacles presented in conversation about travel.
While those reasons are valid, I truly believe that the benefits of travel outweigh the obstacles. Money and time ought to be eagerly exchanged for a glimpse of the vibrant world we inhabit.
The world is a collage of color, including dark and light swathes. There is great sadness and great joy in the world, patches of war torn country and expanses of breathtaking scenery and culture. Traveling and experiencing this variety fills the soul with a compassion and humility that is impossible if we are so concerned with our money and time, we can’t exchange it for something greater.
Money and time are neutral commodities, in and of themselves. It is what we do with them that is either good or bad. Travel is a good investment of both. Don’t let acquiring them be an obstacle either.
Money can be earned while you travel, or you can save up for a trip. There are also cheap ways to travel. As for time, you choose what you do with your time. You choose to work or to sit at home or to travel. There are obligations that cannot be shirked obviously, but if you can, take your family with you.
My parents began traveling with us when we were very young. Though we might not have fully appreciated the trip when we took it, now that we are older, we realize what we have learned, as well as the marvels we have seen.
A man I respect very much once cautioned, “Never do anything out of fear.” Never limit yourself to a bland box of your own creation. Never keep your head to your desk and your hand on your pocketbook or schedule. You were created for more than that.
Mallory Pratt is a senior at Harding University working toward degrees in history and English. She is serving as an newsroom intern with the Daily Light this summer.