Lita’s Flowers

I took these pictures in my abuelita’s garden a couple months ago. And as I reflect, they remind me of something very important.

In this social media age, there’s an unspoken race to have the best, do the most, and travel the world— frequently and lavishly. Along with the beautiful side of international travel— the enrichment of experiencing new cultures, engaging with different types of people, and (my favorite) eating exotic foods— there’s also an unspoken truth of privilege, and sometimes a sense of elitism that comes with having the disposable income (and the time) to do so. Traveling has always been a huge love of mine; I’ve been so incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to be the places I’ve been. I often have to remind myself though that it’s very much a privilege, that not everyone else has. And it’s far too easy to try to “keep up with the Jones’” on Instagram and fill your feed with the wonders of the world.

Taking these pictures on my last trip to Panama, I thought: I don’t know when I’ll be back, and if things will be the same when I do. I took so many pictures of my lita’s home, of my family. Not because it was new or unfamiliar or notable in any specific way. Instead, this beautiful nugget of wisdom came to me: that there’s a beauty in every place, every backyard. This place where I’ve been time and time again, this second home, I saw in a new light. Although it may not always feel this way, your corner of the world is just as foreign to someone else. And if you can’t or don’t get far away from home, doesn’t mean there aren’t new things to discover. Growing deeper into your community is just as necessary as expanding your horizons. At the end of the day, where is the beauty in getting away, if there’s no home to return to?

With this I remind you, where you are right now matters. Your home, your comfortable space, your community, matters. And whether you’re dying to explore, or tired from exploring, I hope the world brings you peace and solace. Right where you are.

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