Two things come to mind.
Witnessing the generosity of those who own literally nothing is one of the most moving experiences you can have in life. It’s the most rewarding part of travel if you ask me.
It reaffirmed that listening to my best friend Jerry when he brought up the idea of backpacking Europe after college is the single best decision I’ve ever made. All the amazing adventures I’ve had and people I’ve met all over the globe potentially wouldn’t have happened had I not taken that first trip in 2005. I may have simply gone straight to the cubicle and never seen anything beyond the friendly confines of the US. But I chose to act and buy a ticket rather than succumb to the fear of the unknown (granted, with some prodding by Jerry), and my life has been infinitely more rewarding as a result.
Dan & Audrey – I don’t know you personally, though I have heard amazing things about you from people I trust deeply (namely, Shannon and Jodi). Thank you, for sharing your story. People like you are the best US foreign policy tool we have at our disposal. Beers (or shots) on me someday when we are in the same city.