On the Common Thread Amongst Cultures and Living Brave

On the common thread amongst cultures and living brave

Show up. Be seen. Live brave. These words, written by Brené Brown, stare at me every day from my office wall thanks to a beautiful Christmas gift I received last year.

To say the past few months have been tumultuous would be downplaying the gravity of our world’s situation right now. There have been days of sadness. Of anger. Of fear.

Yet there have more often been days of beauty. Of gratitude. And of proven strength. After all, Brené’s words have done more than just stare me down…they’ve lifted me up.

Finding the common threads amongst all cultures

At the turn of the new year, I was fortunate to attend The New York Times Travel Show, a three-day event in New York City that brings tens of thousands of travel professionals and consumers together.

I went to the event looking for inspiration for my travel and tourism branding work, as well as for my own wanderlust, yet I walked away from it with much more.

More than 150 countries were represented at this year’s show. I spoke with people of different races, genders, and ages excited to share their landscapes and stories with me. I met a young South African photographer on his first trip to the United States. I chatted with travel representatives from Greece. I drew inspiration from print materials from the Caribbean.

I traveled the world in a day, consistently confirming the same idea: That no matter where we’re from, who we are, or what we do, we all occupy the same Earth and recognize that the pursuit of happiness is a journey that we need each other on.

And it’s a journey that’s been paved by so many who’ve come before us — people we can turn to for inspiration in times of self-doubt, of anger, and of fear, when living brave is easier said than done.

The sacred ground we stand on

I attended The New York Times Travel Show on behalf of the Finger Lakes, a region I’m incredibly proud to call home. It also happens to be a region where showing up, being seen, and living brave in the pursuit of happiness permeates our surroundings.

I’m blessed to live, work, and play on land that powerhouse women such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Jigonsaseh once filled — women who actively dedicated their lives to fighting for rights and peace that we so easily take for granted. Women who, when told to sit down and be quiet, showed up, who were seen, and who most certainly lived brave.

Their presence reawakens my spirit and fills me with energy, power, and mindfulness. Connecting with the power of the past, I am able to harness the strength of love, peace, and hope.

It’s these past presences and the stories they’ve written by showing up and being seen that people all over the world — no matter their culture or physical location — can experience, as they appreciate those who lived brave before them.

Show up, be seen, live brave

Personally, I’ll be traveling through this Women’s History Month with an increased awareness of the women who came before me, and an increased passion for following in their footsteps to inspire understanding, strength, and acceptance as we face today’s challenges.

Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, whatever your cause…I hope you’ll join me in showing up, being seen, and living brave. The world needs our voice. It needs our courage. And it needs our camaraderie.