Travel done well can be a catalyst
for positive change in our lives and in the lives of others.
This on-going series of interviews looks at how that happens.
Kelly McDonald is a nurse in Asheville, North Carolina. Travel and service to others have always been a part of her life. She has been a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica, and has worked with Doctors Without Borders in Guatemala, Niger, West Africa, Haiti, Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo. She and her husband, Connor, spent the past year traveling in 18 countries. Here are some ways that travel has added value to Kelly's life:
One of the most powerful interactions on our world trip was staying with a family in Ladkah, India for three weeks. Even though they didn't speak too much English and we didn't speak Ladakian, we were still able to communicate for the most part. We had so many great laughs in the process. They took us in and made us feel like part of their family. We ate meals with this gracious family in their typical way, on the floor with a small table. It was a very rewarding and beneficial experience but more for us I'm sure. The mother of the house showed me how to milk a cow, and taught Connor how to cut the barley in the fields when it was ready. We learned how to make their typical food, momo's, filled with meat and veggies. Overall, it was a very special and memorable time on our journey and made even more special because their village is where Connor proposed to me.
Love + Wisdom
Connor and I learned a lot about each other over the course of the year. We learned that sometimes you just have to go with the flow. We also learned that you must pick your battles! I think we also learned how to support one another but also how to allow one another to have personal space. Traveling is the best way to learn about a partner. We got engaged and then married on our trip!
The Power of Place
New Zealand is one of my favorite places. The lifestyle in New Zealand is more laid back and easy-going, and there is a great quality of life. It's a paradise offering beautiful beaches and coves, and deep forested mountains, wonderful for trekking which we did a lot of. There are magnificent fjords on the Southern Island.
We also loved Nepal, a very magical and spiritual place. We spent 6 weeks here, where we spent one week volunteering in rural village, ten days trekking on the Annapurna and 10 days at a yoga and mediation center. The Nepalese are such kind and generous people. It's a country we will definitely get back to.
We thoroughly enjoyed every country we visited--18 countries over the course of a year. We learned and gained so much!
The Gifts of Travel
Once you start traveling you realize how many more countries spark your interest. So you put them on your list and the list grows endless.
Traveling has definitely opened my mind to the many thousands of different cultures, ethnicities, and customs the world has to offer, and to the diversity of our universe. There is always so much to learn and appreciate.
Read more about Kelly's year of travel at: http://connorandkellymarchforth.com/
Whenever I travel, I like to do things the local way if I can. I delight in seeing what daily life is like. Besides, this trip to Slovenia was about my own heritage, and I was excited to immerse myself in my family’s history.
Learn what happened on my journey, and what it means for you. Read my latest SPS blogpost: http://www.smallplanetstudio.com/2015/03/18/the-art-of-losing-our-way-and-then-finding-ourselves/?
Hi, I'm Deidra
To me, transformative travel means traveling in a way that connects you to places and people in a profound way., being real and present with what is happening while you travel and recognizing the impact travel has on your life beyond your journeys.