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Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity

“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.” ~William James

If there’s anything I’ve learned from traveling through 56 different countries of the world, it’s that there is much, much more that connects us, than divides us.

People buying, selling and preparing food is delicious, no matter what. 😉

Traveling, on foot or by camel, is still just traveling.

A performance is a performance, whether it’s with drums, a guitar or an instrument you’ve never heard of.

A protest is people speaking out, regardless of what’s it about.

A conversation is a connection with another, no matter what language it’s in.

A spiritual practice, while individual, is global at the same time.

We may dress differently, eat different foods, and have different customs, but ultimately, I believe we all want the same, simple things – not items or money or status – but the things that define our very humanity.

Peace of mind. Love. Joy and compassion. To contribute to those around us. Connection.

I often wish we could all simply be “citizens of the world,” instead of citizens of this, that or the other country. I think borders do more harm, than good. What do you think?

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29 Comments Post a comment
  1. great shots! Love your photos!

    September 14, 2014
  2. I love these pictures and I love your thoughts. Yes – we are indeed citizens of the world however much we try to divide ourselves with culture , creed and country. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    September 14, 2014
    • Thank you! 🙂 Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just all be “one,” like we really are? Hopefully it will become reality one day in the future…

      September 15, 2014
  3. I think you are wise beyond your years. Great post. 🙂

    September 14, 2014
    • Heh heh… Judy, I think my years may be many more than you think (41), 😉 but thanks for thinking they might be less that! 😀

      September 15, 2014
  4. Excellent post! I love all your photos and agree so much that I’d rather be a citizen of the world.

    September 15, 2014
    • Aww thanks!! 😀 It was a fun challenge, and brought back such great memories to go through all those old trip photos!

      September 15, 2014
  5. Kan #

    Lovely interpretation Shelley… and great shots!

    September 15, 2014
    • Thanks a lot Kan! They were a lot of fun to take, well except for maybe the one on the bus in India, which I took cuz that man was staring at me for about 30 minutes straight!!! 😀

      September 16, 2014
  6. What a great post! I love your photos and all of the connections you have made.

    September 16, 2014
  7. I LOVE THIS POST!!! Such a neat parade of people throughout all your travel. I triple love it! And boy, I can imagine the anticipation you had to wait for looking for the perfect timing to release these images. It’s great to know now that you have this perfect timing to gather all these incredibly remarkable portraits.

    September 18, 2014
    • Aww thanks Rommel!! 😀 Actually the photo challenges are great for using photos that don’t really fit into a post. I’ve collected so many over the years, it’s nice to be able to use them. I need you to come look through my photo library and come up with a creative “Rommel picture post…!” 😉

      September 19, 2014
  8. This is such a great post. I struggled with this topic–you did awesome with it! Nailed it, in fact.

    September 20, 2014
    • Thanks Loisa! 😀 Some of the challenges have definitely been easier than others for me. Luckily this was one, where I instantly had an idea of what to do.

      September 21, 2014
  9. What a great opportunity you have to meet people all over the world. I love the way you elaborated on the humanity theme, such a positive feel. Your question is about borders. Do they harm more than help? It is a complex question. Robert Frost’s famous line, “Good fences make good neighbors” may represent one line of thought that counters the idea of removing borders. While I am inclined to find the good in each person I meet, I can also see some value in borders. From a psychological perspective, I found myself needing to define and set personal boundaries. As an adult who let folks take advantage of my kindness, to my detriment, I find that setting personal boundaries actually helps me and those loved ones I try to help.

    As a child of democracy, I am deeply rooted in a belief that we should be free to elect our own government and change things as we grow. There are some people who are rooted in contrary belief structure. If we were to completely remove the world’s borders, as you seem to suggest, as loving and freeing as it sounds, we would need some form of universal government system. This would actually be quite untenable, especially considering all the differences of opinion in the world. This sort of one-world government is the stuff of many a futuristic novel, where the system inevitably falls into the hands of evil. Perhaps it is better to let smaller groups decide together how they shall live. It is hard enough to get concensus on what’s for dinner, much less how we will rule the world.

    September 21, 2014
    • Hi Joan, wow! thanks for your thoughtful comment. 🙂 Yes, borders are definitely a complicated issue and the lack of them in some places could be problematic currently. It is a bit utopian to think that we could have a world without them, but I can’t help but feel that aside from a very small percentage of the world’s population, most of us would just “get along” and help each other out. 😉 At least that’s what I’ve gleaned from traveling around the world.

      I mean, a lot of the borders that we have were drawn up thousands and thousands of years ago and often without a thought to the cultures, tribes, and even families that would be divided (as in Korea, where I live). They were created mostly by “men in power” who were just seeking to consolidate more power, and slice out their part of the world. I mean, who decided that these “people in power” could own parts of the world anyway. Isn’t the world ALL of humanity’s, good or evil, (never mind the animals who have no say in the matter at all)?

      Maybe if we had borders that were created to “actually help others and the loved ones you try to help,” as you said above, I would feel differently, but unfortunately I don’t think that’s truly the case. 😦

      September 22, 2014
      • I’m very glad to hear that in your travels the large majority prefer to get along and help. More chocolate to my soul! 🙂

        September 22, 2014
  10. Wow, amazing photos! Love what you are saying about that in different countries in the world there are much more that connects us, than divides us. That is so true! And I agree: borders often do more harm than good! That we see in the many conflicts around the world.

    September 23, 2014
    • Thanks! Yes, sadly I also believe that these arbitrary drawn up borders we have are responsible for a lot of the conflicts in the world…:( as well as making us waste a lot of unnecessary time in airport line-ups when traveling!! 😉

      September 23, 2014
  11. Brilliant. I used to think of us all as “citizens of the world” but after many years of reflection, I prefer to think of each human as an individual “nations”, each one unique and self-determinate.

    September 24, 2014
    • The microcosm is the macrocosm? Reminds me of the Buddhist idea that the world can be found in a grain of sand, or is it in the eye of a needle? Can’t remember exactly… 😉

      September 30, 2014
  12. touch and nice Pic.

    December 2, 2014
  13. Such a beautiful thought! Loved this post, Shelley! I’ve often wondered how would it be living in a world without borders. And then, someone pops the bubble. 🙂

    January 25, 2016
    • Aww thanks! Borders are so outdated, and the cause of so much suffering! Especially since they were basically drawn up FOREVER ago, by people who had no sensitivity to the cultures, religions etc…of different regions. Something needs to change, that’s for sure…

      January 26, 2016
      • Couldn’t agree with you more! I guess people who draw borders should travel more. 🙂 You guys have travelled to 56 countries? That would ensure many interesting conversations. 🙂

        January 27, 2016
        • With our recent trip to the Maldives, now 57!! 😀 And still so much more to see and discover. Need several lifetimes I think, and a lot more cash. :p

          January 28, 2016

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