The flight attendant’s voice came over the loud speaker, announcing our descent into Los Angeles. I took out my earphones, put away my laptop and opened my window shade. With LAX in the distance and the downtown skyline to my right, I peered over the great Los Angeles basin.
Quickly my attention turned to the white haze blanketing the city. The fog, smog, haze or clouds (call it whatever you like) became thicker with each passing mile, and the closer we came to landing, the worse it thickened.
I’m certain I’m not the only person disturbed by the air quality seen from 20,000 feet above, but coming face to face with this environmental reality is never easy.
In fact, this mass of pollution is something I see every time I return to California. But after spending a week in a country known for its lush countrysides, green pastures, and blue skies, the “white balance” hanging over LA was more apparent than ever.
The reaction I received the last time I re-entered the United States (Read about it: HERE) made me think twice about how I perceive my home country when returning from being abroad. With this in mind, I did my best to tuck away negativity, even if it was starring at me in the face!
So after the taxi dropped me outside my home, I walked up my pathway and began the process of decompressing and re-entering my life at home.
I immediately found myself relieved to have familiar food to eat, so over a dinner of veggie enchiladas, I took out my laptop and began to sifting through photographs.
Feeling bittersweet about returning so soon (and not wanting to forget my favorite images), I relived special moments and tried to remain close to the sounds, smells and feelings of the Emerald Isle. Remembering the air being fresh and clean, the sky blue as can be, the green grass blowing in the breeze.
I recounted not only my Irish countryside adventure, but also the many other international experiences stamped in my passport. Thumbing through my little blue book, I felt proud of myself, as it became clear to me that traveling the globe is what I value most in life.
To know I’ve seen cities around the world and experienced countless cultures is more important to me than having money or material possessions. This is a particular sense of accomplishment I feel – a feeling as though I’ve checked off something from my life “TO DO” list. And with each country visited, another mark in my book of life.
People value what they do in all different shapes and forms, and this is how I value mine.