We are on an epic journey with the family in India. What makes India so special to travel in, is that you are constantly inundated with sights, sounds and colors. In a small town on one street you will find a Buddhist Monastery, 3 different Hindu Temples all dedicated to different gods and a Sikh Temple.
We went into a Monastery where hundreds of young Monks were chanting mantras, we were part of thousands walking into the Sikh Temple and we watched hundreds of people line up to enter a Hindu Temple. It's interesting to see how devoted each group is to their religion. The next day we attended services at Chabad. I commented to my kids how each religion is so sure they have the correct version of the world. Even in our Jewish world each sect thinks their way is the right way. Each persons perspective is their reality.
I recently had an experience that further illustrates this concept. A few months ago I was on the beach in Tel Aviv with a friend who has a son with devastating cancer. We were watching a lady walk out of the sea and she had a contraption around her neck. I, as the world traveller immediately recognized that it was a waterproof holder that you can wear while you swim with your valuables. My friend remarked that it was such a shame that this poor person had to wear her chemo therapy dispenser even while swimming. Two people observing the exact same thing with conclusions that were so different and influenced by our life experiences and world view.
When I meet Israelis and they hear we left Manhattan for Jerusalem they are often incredulous at our choices. Yet in my world people are ecstatic at finally getting the chance to live the dream of living in the Jewish homeland. It's no secret that I have found the move very tough. When people ask what I find difficult I say the people, the culture, the language, the education system and day to day life. I have no doubt that others confront these common challenges of olim but their idealism transforms their perspective. In my own home I am the only one not drunk on idealism.
Travel is the great eye opener and challenger of your world perspective. As the sign in an Indian train station said:
If you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.