Updated: Jan 22, 2021
Traveling goes beyond getting to know different places and seeing new sights. A trip also brings the gift of knowledge and the opportunity to reflect.
In my first two posts, I mentioned some not-so-pleasant childhood recollections. Now, I think it's a good time to take a break and talk about traveling back in time, and remembering some very cool things I've learned during middle school back in Brazil. After all, God has given me so many blessings in life to be thankful for. Why not to talk about them as well?
Rome had been part of my bucket list for quite a while. However, I always had in mind the idea of visiting the Colosseum. Period! I never really took the time to think much about what else was around Rome; the few people I've known who visited the city didn't have much to share other than the Colosseum, so I guess I didn't know any better.
I thought the Colosseum was located in a remote area, probably even outside of the city. I didn't know I could just walk down the street fifteen minutes from my hotel and see its ruins. On my way to the Colosseum, the mixture of the past and present was evident: locals and immigrants shared the city. Tourists and heavily armed soldiers at touristic attractions.
It was quite unbelievable when I first laid my eyes in the Colosseum. I made a turn, walked down some steps, and there it was—right next to a busy road with buses and cars driving up and down. Since it was later in the afternoon, we decided to buy a two-day ticket to allow us to return the next day and visit the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill adjacent to it.
To be honest, my excitement was mostly focused on getting inside the Colosseum, but it turns out—besides the new experience and the historical factor—it wasn't as impressive as the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. The Colosseum, in my opinion, had a very sad energy, not to mention the purpose for which was built.
On the other hand, the Roman Forum made me feel like I was living ancient history and, in some ways, part of it. It brought back memories of my years in school learning all about Cesar, Nero, the great fire of Rome, Roman emperors. And there I was! Not in a million years I would have guessed that those archeological sites still existed; and, even more incredible than that, I would one day I would be there to see part of it with my own eyes.
Honestly, to me, that was one of the most extraordinary surprises I've had in my life: The idea of being there, stepping on the same places ancient people did thousands of years ago made me realize how everything in this life passes, including us. One day, they were powerful rulers feared and respected by all. Today, while buildings and physical structures that were built for them still stand, they are just distant memories—part of history.
That's what this trip made me realize: How small we are. Someday, I will pass. Except I very likely won't be remembered in a couple hundred years. My existence may not be even known, just like I have no idea of who most of my ancestors were.
That brings me to my next conclusion: After all, shouldn't life be about the time we have while we are here? So, the question I asked myself was:
"What do I want to live for?"
And for my loved ones:
"What do I want to be remembered for?"
After all, they are the ones who matter the most. Right here. Right now.