Our Hearts Beat The Same, Georgia 10 – 6/2014

December 9, 2016

If you pick up a handful of dirt in Los Angeles or a handful in Istanbul, it’s the same stuff. Part of what makes travel fascinating for us is the people and their lives in the unique countries they live in. But there is something else interesting about these individuals, whether adults or children, regardless of religion or politics. Let me tell you a quick story:

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At our first camp in Georgia, these kids paid us a visit. They were very curious yet polite and rather shy.

It was 1995 and we were sitting in the living room of a Russian friend in the suburbs of Moscow. Marc Podolsky had been on the Russian Camel Trophy team, an international rally that I covered for U.S. magazines. We were talking about our plans to drive across Siberia and the former Soviet Union alone, ocean-to-ocean. There were fears of fuel and food shortages, impassible roads, bandits, and mafia. If there was a road, however bad, we were confident that The Turtle IV could handle it. It was the danger from people we could not control.

In the midst of this conversation about unknown problems and dangers, suddenly Marc’s father-in-law looked at me and put his hand on his wrist. “Feel your pulse”, he said. Marc translated. I did. He then moved his hand to his neck. “Feel your pulse.” he said again, so I did. Then he placed his hand to his heart and spoke quietly, as his eyes met mine, he said, “Our hearts beat the same.” What a powerful statement!

This sheepskin hat would have been perfect for skiing in Park City, the only one on the slopes but Monika didn’t like the sheepy smell.

This sheepskin hat would have been perfect for skiing in Park City, the only one on the slopes but Monika didn’t like the sheepy smell.

Monika and I looked at each other and knew instantly that we could travel across Russia alone and be safe.

What you will notice about the people below from the country of Georgia is that their hearts beat the same as yours and ours.

The people we meet in the poorer Third World countries are worried about their children, their animals, their crops, their friends and relatives, putting food on the table, having a roof over their heads — most of the stuff that everyone in the World thinks about to some degree. If you treat 99.9% of all those people with a smile and respect, it will come back to you tenfold.

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