Guest blogger Ashel Parsons: Observer of the world

Somewhere over a journey from Atlanta to South Africa. Via Instagram (@ashelparsons)

Somewhere over a journey from Atlanta to South Africa. Via Instagram (@ashelparsons).

My ways are not the only ways. My thoughts are not the only thoughts. My culture is not the only culture.

Those statements become more and more real to me every time I step out of MY little world. I get a slap in the face every time I experience someone else’s world and culture, and I love it. I’m no radical, just an observer of the world, or at least the bits and pieces of the world I am blessed to observe. It’s impossible to view my surroundings without using my eyes, so of course I am going to have my view on things. But the more I allow myself to be open minded, the more I can see. And the more I see, the more I can accept and serve with the hope that my eyes will start to see the way others see.

I have been blessed to travel and experience many different cultures in my life, from the U.S. to South America to Africa to Asia and many places in between. Travel has made me who I am. My desire to grow, learn, and always be pushed out of my comfort zone has been the biggest side effect of travel for me. I can’t always understand what I see or experience, but that’s OK with me. The fact that I can’t helps me broaden my mind and views of the world and the people in it.

Guatemala. Via Instagram (@ashelparsons)

Guatemala. Via Instagram (@ashelparsons)

I never want to be stuck in my growth. I’m not saying I always have to be traveling the world. There is plenty to be learned right where I am, and I know that even better now because of my travel. No matter how different a person or culture is to me, there is one commonality: we all are human. It’s cliche to say, but it’s true. We really do have so much more in common than we might think.

Ashel Parsons, international programs administrator

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