When I set out on this journey my goal was to experience Europe and to change my perspective on how I viewed the world and the United States. There were many things that we saw in Europe that really made me question the way we do things back in the states. The subway system in London made me question why we don’t have them everywhere in the US. The highly efficient recycling system in Germany made me wonder why we don’t separate our trash. The music of Austria made me question why we don’t embrace our traditional music culture more. The way the sinks are operated by foot in Italy made me wonder why we don’t use more innovation in our plumbing. The quietness of Sunday in France made me question why we don’t honor the lord’s day. The siesta in Spain made me wonder why we work so hard in America without giving ourselves any time to relax.
The way I view tourist has changed as well. Being from the Niagara Falls myself, tourist have always had a bad reputation of being a nuisance to us all. But after traveling for so long in a foreign country my perspective has changed. I can’t help but be much more compassionate to travelers. It is so true that you don’t know anything about a stranger until you take a walk in their shoes. And trust me, we’ve put a lot of mileage on our traveling shoes.
Even if you have no desire to change your perspective on how you view the world, there is another perspective that changes when you travel that I haven’t mentioned yet. Facing the challenges that you have while you’re abroad changes you’re perspective on diabetes. Going through tough times managing blood sugar in unfamiliar circumstances makes daily diabetes management a walk in the park. No strange serving sizes on the nutrition labels, no endless nights of low blood sugar after a crazy active night, and no waterlogged insulin pumps. By comparison, diabetes back at home seems as simple as breathing.
Although traveling has made me see some of the things that are “missing” in the U.S. It has also opened my eyes to the great things that our country has. Drinking fountains, free bathrooms, and a familiar weighing system. Although it is bittersweet, leaving Europe means coming back home. To a place where I can call the bed I sleep in my own. A place where I go to sleep without locking up all of my belongings. The time I had in Europe is something I will never forget, but I am happy to be back on the soil of the land of the free and the home of the brave.