First time abroad
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine.
Since the beginning of the time people have wanted to discover what is beyond; this curiosity leads to travel. When you decide that you need a rest or a break from the activities that you do every day it is the right moment to pack your things up and begin the adventure.
Travel forces you out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t matter if you choose an all inclusive package, or if you are a back packer. You will not sleep in your bed or eat your food, you will not be in your home at least for a while and that means one thing: CHANGE. But in the end, life is about that, impermanence.
Because traveling is not only about move in the geographic way, your spirit and feelings move too. Even your brain changes, because you learn new things, taste different meals and smell new odors.
My Adventure Begins
I remember the first time that I traveled abroad was as a journalist. I was working for a “revolutionary” magazine and we went in a chartered plane to cover “Misión Milagro” on Chavez’s government. It was really exciting because the leader of the project was a friend of mine. She is a very intelligent woman and a good person who works for the Venezuelan government. I remember that I was really nervous to fly and she and another reporter from “La Jornada” taught me all about the plane. Even Mercedes my Venezuelan friend asked the pilot if we could go to the cabin, and we did. For a girl in her 20´s like me, that was really exciting!
When we arrived the first thing that I felt was a difference in weather, and a really curious sound. Later native people explained to me that it was “chicharras”, but it was amazing that through the jungle you always heard that sound.
Miracles of Generosity
Shortly after I arrived I had to go to Charallave, it was the place where all the patients have to go for cataract operations. Everything was free for them, because it was an alliance between the Distrito Federal and Hugo Chavez’s government. They were given food, a place to stay, and all the medical care for them and one companion.
I met a lot of interesting people there. I remember a couple, that must have been around 70 years old. They met in a nursing home, and just fell in love so they decided to get married. I remember they watched out for each other with a lot of love and special care, which was amazing and beautiful at the same time.
Meet the Students
After my visit to cataract facility I went to Caracas where I met a group of students. They were a very revolutionary minded group. They knew their rights and obligations as citizens. They also knew the constitution of their country like the back or their hands. With them we attended a demonstration against the US government. Before that day I had never seen anything like it. People were screaming to wake up from repressive Imperialism. At the same time they were saying that the United States of America is not the king of the world. There were women, men, young people, old people, and even children. It felt like it was some kind of party. At least that was the ambiance that you felt while you were there.
The next day I went to “Los Ranchos”. It was one of the poorest neighborhoods, but also one of the most interesting to me because they were surprisingly organized. They had some sort of team that they called “Consejos comunitarios”.
All of the people on the block get organized on the needs that they have as a community and then deliver it to the government to be resolved. It was a direct influence from the community that made the changes, not the politicians chosen to represent them. I was delighted to discover that this system was already in place to receive the requests from the community and fix them in a timely fashion. That to me is the true meaning of politics.
The next day we went with the students to another demonstration but this time it was against a TV channel. The people wanted them to stop broadcasting because they said the content of their shows alienates people. It was exciting and weird at the same time.
In La República Bolivariana de Venezuela people are always talking about politics and how everybody loves Hugo Chavez, even the children. There was a very political ambiance everywhere. There was a lot of government programs to help people, and you can fill your car with gasoline for less than one dollar. It was a very interesting place.
In Venezuela the food was good. Arepas and cachapas are delicious, the people are very kind, and the music that you can listen too is amazing. In general it is a very exciting country with beautiful places and things to do.
Ever since my first time traveling abroad I have done it many times after, because I really like the experience of knowing other places, people, and things. Afterwards I always feel like a different person, because traveling transforms you into a better version of yourself.