Postcard from Birmingham : DREAM, TRAVEL, REFLECT
"Traveling ~ it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller."         ~Ibn Battuta

Postcard from Birmingham

by Patricia Thayer on 08/23/20

"Everytime I see this, I get emotional," the elderly woman says as she grabs my arm, only to look up, with tears in her eyes, and not see the face she expected.  In a dark room in the National Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham, watching a large-screen vision of Martin Luther King's speech to the nation, I am a lone white person among a large group of African Americans.  After a brief moment of uncertainty and loosening her hold, she sees the empathy in my eyes and regrasps my arm.  We speak quietly.  She, a retired Black teacher from Birmingham who had been a participant in history, and me, a White teacher from the suburbs of California who had come of age in the 60's, connect for a brief time in this very human experience.  At that moment, we both understand Dr. King's message that undeserved suffering may not be fair, but it can be redemptive. Why do I travel?  To gain a better understanding of the history and experiences that shape the different cultures in our own country.   (July 2007)

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"Why do you travel?" asked a friend as I was preparing for a summer trip to Guatemala.  At the 
time, I replied, "To see the world," or some such trite response.  It is a difficult question because 
I don't have just one answer.  But the question deserves a better response so I decided to write down my reasons in the form of "postcards".  These postcards are an ongoing attempt to answer the question posed by my friend those many years ago. I hope they will encourage you to enrich 
your life through more travel experiences and find your own answers to this question.  
Dream ~ Travel ~ Reflect