It had been a long trip. A long flight, a long drive, a long journey overall and we were exhausted.
The roads were bumpy, my eyes were dusty, and my guilt pangs were worse than my hunger pangs, which were a result of me feeling guilty for being hungry in the first place in a land where so many are in grave need of ...well...everything.
Ethiopia is not for the faint of heart, it is amazing in many ways- the ancient multi-colored walls of some of the oldest houses of worship in the world, the small modest hidden places to stay, natural landscapes, the vibrancy of the market in Addis which was certainly interesting as well. However, it wasn't until I opened my eyes a little further that I discovered what makes it so beautiful.
The older tour van we were on was being pushed to its limit, and needed a break. Just like we all did, so we stopped for some water and a chance to look around a town so desolate it was shocking. In between two buildings in a small alleyway, there was a family- dressed in cream colored linen wrap robes, beautiful faces, four children with the brightest eyes I've ever seen beckoned us forward.
There, in the alleyway, they were toasting some Injera over a small fire, an Ethiopian bread that's primarily the mainstay of the cuisine. That may have been all they had to eat that day, yet they invited us to have a piece simply because they knew we were foreigners and we must have all looked ridiculously out of place. This was their way of welcoming us - it was the purest form of kindness I've ever seen, and even to this day I still get overwhelmed.
The point is, travel is so much more beyond what's right there in front of you - you have to look beyond, take a moment to walk around, breathe it in, search through a place that might even make you a bit uncomfortable on the outset. Because if you don't, you could run the risk of missing something spectacular.
Written and contributed by TheExplorateur