International Inbox

Traveling internationally affords me the opportunity to rub shoulders with the four corners of the world. That is one reason when I get the itch to get going, going is the only salve. The perspective gained and culture learned are impossible to glean from a mountain of text books. Get me out there where the people are. Let me try to say their words and taste their foods in my mouth. Let the scent of their streets fill my nose. Let me feel their skin in my hands. Let the rhythm of their music caress my soul. Let my foot tread where their heroes of past ages walked, marched, led, fought, and died for the truth they believed in. Let me be influenced and changed.

Internationality (that is an invented word; if you know a word that means what I am looking for please inform me) is one of the best parts of living in the age we do. To be instantly connected to the minds of others from around the globe through the internet is miraculous to say the least. To be able to hop on an airplane and get to where you are going in lightning speed is a privilege not known to generations gone before. That a tiny cord and some pulses allow us to hear the voice of someone thousands of kilometers away even across oceans and spanning continents is amazing. The brainiacs that know how to create these marvels are continually developing new advances to connect people.

On any given day my e-mail inbox is extremely international. Here is an example of what I woke up to the other day: England, Bolivia, The U.S., New Zealand, Zambia, Australia, Indonesia and Japan. And there were other countries that showed up throughout the day. Look at that list; that is so phenomenal to me.

Must one be intentionally international? Or is it an unavoidable phenomenon? What does this mean for us as we move towards the future? Am I thinking this is the trend only because I have taken up residency on another soil than that of my birth? What are other people thinking about internationality? These and many other questions are what I am thinking about today. What do you think about it?

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14 thoughts on “International Inbox

  1. First, it made me smile that you used “kilometers”!

    Second, I think one has to be somewhat intentional to be international. Many have no contact with the world outside the U.S. I can’t imagine not… But I think having a WORLD-world view is a choice.

  2. Hi @ngie, This post is so well timed for me as I am just getting over jet lag from spending 24 hours in a plane from New Zealand this weekend :). It really struck me how incredible it is, that in a matter of one day we can go from being on one side of the globe to the other. As you say, our generation is so privileged to be able to do this.

    One of your questions is about whether being international is intentional. If it’s for the reasons you mention here of curiosity and experiencing another culture, then, personally I find it is intentional as it involves lots of planning and organising. It’s worth every single minute though, like you, I absolutely adore travel and am always keen to learn and see and experience more of the world :).

  3. Hmmm… Is being internationally intentional? I would say yes. I think people who have international friends first value the flavor their friends bring to the relationship and that is attractive. I would say it is like going to a party and being told to bring a plate of food with you. It would stink if everyone brought the same thing. But when people bring other things that are different people say “Wow that looks interesting let me try some of that.” Not everyone is like that.

    On a side note it would be interesting to see where I get emails or communication from on a given day.

  4. I heart traveling all over the world!!! People who prefer to be “land-locked” think both my dear hubby and I are nuts to be willing to travel to Israel, Bolivia, etc. “Is it safe?” is their first question. About as safe as being in your own hometown or traveling on the highway I suppose! God keeps us safe and we continue to put our trust in Him!

    Thus, a traveling I pray we will ALWAYS be!

  5. i know a lot of people who have no internationality in them at all. some are afraid of it. some say they’d like to but haven’t stepped out and done it yet. some are just ambivalent about the rest of the world.

    me? i’ll take my highly international life any day of the week.

  6. Alece – It would be interesting to know what the sociologists have to say about certain sectors of the population in regards to things like ambivalence and internationality.

    Libby – Is it safe? Hm… Is it safe in this coming age that is becoming more of a meshing of cultures thanks to things like immigrant workers, international business focuses and seemingly never ending wars to not be a person that experiences the world first hand?

    DaRonn – Yes, I think that people who are intentionally international have more friends and value the diversity amongst us, rather than being afraid of what is different.

    Birgit – That is true that getting out of our comfortable bubble does require planning and organization. By the way, I love hearing about your travels and seeing the pictures you get.

    Danielle – You do a wonderful job of keeping the world and it’s people before you. I admire you for that!

  7. :) I love it! I call it Diversity, being a city on a Hill, the Hill being the Rock of Christ, and we are international, no one can keep HIM in a box, and we are not in the box either as HE lives in us. I have enjoyed that same kind of email list..
    bolivia
    south africa
    England
    Australia
    Japan
    Holland
    Canada
    Mexico
    brazil
    Venezula

    then of course different states in the US. Amazing…I think God is bringing together HIS children and the Bride is getting ready!! can you tell this excites me??

    Love it! internationality…I may have to use that word along with Christ Follower. ;)

  8. Darla – I now have Toby Mac’s song ‘Diverse City’ playing in my head. :-) That is so cool that you came back to add to your list. You are sweet!

  9. I absolutely love to travel, but up until two years ago I had never travelled outside of North America. Now I have been to Africa and am getting ready to head to South America ( yeah!)
    I know some people who are quite happy to stay where they are and never travel far and wide.
    Isn’t it great how God has made us all different.
    I am starting to think that “internationality” is intentional.
    Bolivia here I come!!!!

  10. A Mazing. The coolest thing about this terrifying technology is the instant communication with people you would never have even known before. WAY cool.

  11. I agree with most commenters. I think internationality (if that’s not a word, it should be) IS intentional. Or I guess one could stumble upon it. But in our big country of the US, it’s still easy to avoid.

    I have a lot of friends who’ve never traveled outside the States. When I tell them I’m off to Peru or Israel or wherever, they usually mention that they think there are so many places in the US that they haven’t gotten to yet that places outside are lower on the list.

    I guess if your goal is to see a place, you don’t have to go far. But if you want to experience something new, or meet new people, or eat food you’re not familiar with, I don’t think you can imagine staying only in places that have Comfort Inn and McDonalds and bathrooms where you can flush the TP.

    When we went to Israel with a group from church, the highlight for the majority was finding a McDonald’s in Jerusalem. Only a few of us ditched the group and found a little cafe for our dinner. They were just so excited to eat “normal” food. We couldn’t imagine wasting a perfectly good meal in a foreign land in McD’s.

    Neither group really understood the other. I think some from the McDonald’s group were open to being changed, but others seem too firmly entrenched in the familiar to really change.

    Of course God can do anything. Put a xenophobe in an orphanage in a third-world country, and often you’ll see the children do a work on their heart that no amount of sightseeing could do.

    THIS is why I like reading you and other missionaries. I don’t currently have a calling to live elsewhere, but it’s great to find like-minded adventurers.

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