Gratitude for Georgia
All the Renaissance masters, Roman gods, and Golden Age heroes showed up right when I needed them, no one was grievously injured, and even the weather behaved itself (for the most part). So yes, another fantastic spring season leading tours of Western Europe, and again I returned home stunned with gratitude that I get to do this.
I still love seeing all the beautiful places, eating delicious food, and being soothed by the sound of foreign languages all around me, but the best part continues to be the tour members I meet. That’s not a platitude. We draw great people.
This year I met people facing challenges that inspired me, offering friendship and connection that uplifted me, and reminding me of things I need to remember (like not to be so judgmental about people who work in industries with attendant problems). But as I returned home and faced a perennial challenge there, a couple in particular stood out. My Georgians.
Swamped by work (then sequestered behind China’s firewall) I fell a bit behind in my US news, and the catching up process has been as traumatic and horrendous as feared. Our nation is systematically abusing children, seeking to create another disastrous war, and last week the Supreme Court ruled that gerrymandering the democracy right out of America is just fine, ensuring that the party of the 1% can continue making life worse for the other 99%. It’s enough to make a fella think his countrymen have lost their minds, not to mention their hearts and souls.
Which is when I remember the Georgians. I love the Georgians. They were deeply kind, wonderfully interested, relentlessly good natured, and both a joy to be around and a pleasure to have on tour. And they support Trump.
Truth is, I do not understand how any ethical person can support this president. For me, he has gone beyond the realm of political opinions and into a space of genuine immorality. But when I think about the Georgians, I know they are moral people and remember that I don’t need to understand why they vote how they do, or even particularly care. Because I don’t see them as Trump Supporters or some other label, I see them as them. Good people, doing the best they can see how to do in a complicated and troubling world. And I respect that. I respect them.
So yes, I am deeply grateful that I get to share my love of history, culture, and travel with my tour members, but I’m even more grateful to be reminded that we’re all in this together, all part of the same tribe, all members of the big We. Keep on traveling, keep on meeting, keep on connecting.