Lessons Learned Abroad

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Not everyone loves to travel. There are those among us who prefer to stick to the comfort of the known. The potential for experiencing something different makes them anxious. I am not one of these people. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to a comfort zone, but I like to see and try new things. Don’t get me wrong, there are things that I shy away from. (Remember a few years ago when I chickened out of skydiving? I definitely found my limit.)

If you’re like me, you have a bucket list of the many places you would like to visit. Now, I am not a world traveler by any means. In fact, there are so many foreign countries I’ve yet to experience, like Italy and France, that are typical vacation spots. And, I would say that there are many locations right here in the good ole USA that I still want to see. In fact, just yesterday, my husband added a baseball stadium tour that I didn’t know he was interested in seeing – I’m in.

Recently, I visited Panama and Costa Rica. I had heard through many people that these countries were unique, fun and beautiful. I was not disappointed. It was the first time I could draw comparisons between various parts of the landscape and movie scenes. I didn’t realize Panama City’s skyscrapers were so large; which totally reminded me of a science fiction movie (see photo). Of course, we toured the Panama Canal, but what I found most interesting was our visit to an area where indigenous people still strive to live a simple way of life. The first thing you notice is how happy people are. They are laughing, playing, talking and working. They conserve and protect their environment and use everything with reverence.

When I travel, I often feel blessed. I’m thankful that I get the opportunity to see and experience new things, but mostly I appreciate how it gives me a new perspective on cultures from around the globe. I learn something about them and about myself every time. It’s this process of understanding and feeling that keeps me motivated to plan the next adventure. Returning from this trip, I want to implement the practices that I observed in Panama and Costa Rica. They are proud of their region. They know it has challenges but appreciate the positives and talk about them with anyone that will listen. They also welcome people who visit with a smile and love.

I want things to be like that here. Let’s all agree, we have a pretty amazing region and very little to truly complain about when we place things into perspective. We must get everyone to celebrate the positives and work on the challenges – that’s the plan for the rest of 2018. Join me!


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Tiffany Dowling

Tiffany Dowling

Tiffany Dowling is the Founder and President of M3 Group, a full-service branding agency located in downtown Lansing, Mich. She is also owner and publisher of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. Dowling has helped businesses and organizations with branding needs for more than a decade. Learn more at www.m3group.biz.

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