This will be a quickie and I'll let you all know my posting here and visits to your places may be spotty the next week and a half (or I may just meme and quiz you to death here). I have a dear friend visiting from Bolivia for a while. So I'll count that.
I've only been to Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, and Bolivia outside the USA. And I've been to about 35 US states. I'm so grateful to have had those opportunities. No direspect intended but my entire family lives within 10 miles of each other and i am considered quite the rebel for living a whole 90 miles away. That I'd voluntarily move overseas back when I did is completely beyond the scope of comprehension.
I can't tell how how seeing and experiencing different places has enriched me and expanded my perspective. When I have been fortunate enough to travel I try to really get the local feel. I might not miss the big attractions but I want to see the back alleys and the places only the locals know, the places that give a place its real flavor. I want the sights, sounds, tastes, noises that are distinctive and I want to see why a place is 'home' to the people who live there.
I've learned new ways to look at things and seen different ways of doing things. Different languages, different values, different priorities and perspectives all open your eyes if you allow them too. I can recall taking my Dad to the Hilton in Trinidad because friends had recommended the huge local buffet as a way to give him LOTS of different foods to try all at once and see a nice show. There was a lady there sniffing in disgust over the curries, beans, flat breads, fish broths, stewed chickens, stewed pumpkins and various unfamiliar treats. Honestly, there wasn't anything outrageous like fresh monkey brains. It was all quite standard fare, simply arranged or seasoned differently. All she wondered was where the American food was. I explained what things were and still she went away in disgust. She missed a GREAT meal.
So I am counting all the diversity I've been lucky enough to experience and learn from. I'm counting a chance to visit with my dear friend and maybe practice my Spanish a bit this week. And I'm counting those of you from far-flung corners who have shared with me the things that make you and your homes so different and special.