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Threads of Humanity

Updated: May 1, 2022

Hu-man-i-ty (noun): compassionate, sympathetic, or generous behaviour or disposition : the quality or state of being humane.


It’s been a little over a week since I left Australia. Left that island home floating in the pacific, which for the past two years has been largely cut off from the rest of the world. As I watched the mass of mainland Australia be swallowed up by the vast expanse of sea, I realised how much I missed travel. Missed the different sounds, tastes and sights. Missed expanding my mind with each new piece of ancient architecture, boundless landscapes or dingy alleyways. I forgot the undulating feeling of cobblestones underfoot – the way they vibrate up through your suitcase wheels and into your bones, so by the time you stagger sweating and swearing up to your hostel your whole body is reverberating and your ears are ringing.

There is nothing like travel to make you feel the immensity of your own insignificance. There is bliss in that insignificance – a stillness in the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean, a faint echo in the ruins of an ancient civilisation or a cheerful ether in a field of daisies. It is liberating to explore regions of the world which do not know who you are, nor care for you or your troubles. They take you as you are, not who you were or who you want to be.

Travel is at once so foreign – different cuisines, languages and cultures – and yet also so familiar. Because, sprinkled throughout the corners of the globe, no matter how far you search, there are common traces of humanity. Homage to the same thread that runs within all of us, linking us all, inextricably, together.

I have observed these moments throughout my many years of traveling and I am reminded of them now. They are in the infectious chuckle of a baby. The way people turn their faces to soak up the early morning sun. It’s in the sharp cry of a warning from a mother, preventing her child from stepping out into the road. In the way we cosy up to that first cup of coffee in the morning. A stranger’s head drooping onto your shoulder on a long train ride. Moments that are so uniquely human, they can be found anywhere in the world, in any language and any culture.

Perhaps it is the eternal optimist in me, but in a world which is so torn, ravaged by disease rendered by war, I still believe we can reach deep within ourselves and draw out that common thread of humanity. It can be a reminder to focus on our similarities, not our differences.

One of my favourite sayings is ‘it takes all colours to make a rainbow’. I think of how one-dimensional life would be with one culture, one sexuality, one language, one cuisine. How beige and bland our experience would be. It is our differences that give the tapestry colour, but it is our common thread of humanity that holds it together. Right now, it's fraying at the edges, but we all have a power deep within us. We all have the ability to change the world in a real way – even if it is just the worlds of the people closest to us. If we reach out and can connect our thread even to just one other person, the world is a little bit closer together than it was before.

As I walk past usually pristine tourist neighbourhoods dilapidated and in disrepair, the still-healing scars of the pandemic, it’s easy to feel disheartened. But then I walk into a tiny café, and see weather-beaten old men gossiping over cups of coffee, I see a child swinging merrily from his parents’ hands, smell the tantalising, irresistible aroma of freshly baked pasty wafting from a bakery around the corner. And I am reminded, where there is life there is hope. And by God, there is life out there in this big wide world. I choose to believe there is hope too.

April 15th, 2022.


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This is beautiful! I’ll never forget that feeling of immense insignificance when I visited St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City for the first time… truly a life changing experience.

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