Thursday, September 24, 2009


As I get ready, just a week from today, to leave for Europe, this time in the luxury of business class, I am thinking about a poem I wrote, back in 1997.  It is called "Travel Thoughts" and I had much inspiration for that verse.  I was on a twelve day southeast Asia cruise which was absolutely wonderful, touching on Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei and ending up in Singapore.  We saw so much beauty, sampled exotic cuisines, watched intricate dances performed by artists wearing exquisite traditional dress, visited holy temples and mosques, and learned a little bit about ourselves.

Brunei Darussalam is a sultanate, a very prosperous country, that is not normally a cruise ship destination.  It is an Islamic country with a high standard of living.  

The day before we docked there and, indeed that morning, announcements had been made on the ship that women should be appropriately dressed ( ie, not wearing halter tops or with bare shoulders or in short shorts ).  We were also requested not to wear yellow, the color of the sultan.

I was amazed to see how many people totally disregarded that request!  Another thing that dismayed me throughout the cruise was overhearing public comments made about the lack of air conditioning in taxis and small local restaurants or general complaints that "things are just not up to American - or British - standards."  I would hang my head in shame.

Travel Thoughts

As we travel about our shrinking globe,
Let us take the time to see,
This earth's most precious resource -
People like you and me.

Though we speak myriad languages,
And may dress in a different style -
A common bond unites us all,
The ability to share a smile.

As we pack for each new adventure,
Let's leave bias and prejudice behind,
Treating others as we'd like to be treated,
Remembering to respect all mankind.

We must pause to see the beauty,
In even the smallest things -
In the smiling eyes of a native child,
In the bright hue of butterfly wings.

Let us take good will as we journey,
No matter how near or how far,
And rejoice in the cultural differences,
That make each of us who we are.

Try to be less hasty to criticize,
As hither and yon we roam,
For if we're always finding fault,
What's the point of leaving home?

To be able to travel is truly a gift,
So be grateful as each journey ends,
For all we have seen and learned on the way,
For the joy of new found friends.

May we share our planet's beauty,
With the utmost respect and care
Leaving nature and all whom we meet,
Better for our having been there.

Carmen Henesy

Copyright (c) 1997 by Carmen Henesy
All rights reserved. 


  1. That's a lovely poem; I hope you have a luxurious and wonderful holiday in Europe :)

  2. nurse have akeen sense of their surroundings, and are fanatical about rules. we're used to them. we break them, we might lose a life. so even trivial things can be pretty irritating, especially if they're so simple and yet nobody seems to understand.

    good luck on your trip, ms. carmen!~~~i hear that european men are given to whistling whenever they see a beauty!~~~

  3. Carmen, I have dropped over for my first visit, but I will be back. I found you through Julie King. Your poem is wonderful. I enjoyed reading about your experiences with fellow travelers. I lived in Germany for a year back in the 60's when my first husband was in the Army. Our friends would go to the Army base for all their entertainment. We found it so interesting to live in a German home and go to the places the locals went. It was a blessing to have lived there and I am so impressed you have been on so many cruises. I am half Arabic, but didn't grow up with my Arabic father. I work in the medical field as technical director of the eye bank. I turned 60 on Sunday. I will return.

  4. cherie and braja, thanks for coming back! I am vowing to get the packing done early this time! No all nighter's before departure.

    Nana Trish, welcome and please do come back. A belated happy birthday to you.

  5. I echo all of your sentiments in this poem. What is travel for, if not to experience other ways and broaden horizons. You should go with an open mind or not bother going at all.

  6. As always Carmen a breath of fresh air in your words;

    The lines:

    Though we speak myriad languages,
    And may dress in a different style -
    A common bond unites us all,
    The ability to share a smile.

    Say it all and are at the essence of this poetic masterpiece.

  7. What a wonderful poem. I so agree with the sentiment you shared. I like your positive outlook on life and travel. I am glad you meandered and found your way to Quincy Daily Photo. Thanks for taking time to comment. I am following my bliss by traveling around my city and taking photographs there. It's nice to be able to share them and see my photography skills improve along the way. My photo blog has added great balance to my life.

  8. Sheila...I so agree...if we want everything to be just like it is in the good old U. S. A., there isn't much point in leaving our shores!

    Dear Jo, who got me started on this blog stuff...and has helped so much with the poetry and such, how will we ever find time to get together again!! It is so true, a smile goes a long way when one isn't proficient in the language of a realm.

    Slim, I believe that might be Quincy, MA, you are photographing. In my young and slim years, I lived in Cambridge and Waltham ( my father was from there ) and I worked at Sancta Maria Hospital and oldest son was born in the now non-existent Chelsea Naval Hospital ( I got snowed in on the way from Lexington to deliver him and was rescued by a gas station truck with a snow plow! ).

  9. i'm so enjoying my first visit to your blog!! i so like your comment about why travel abroad if you want everything to be just like in america. well-said, for sure!

    sorry to hear about you losing your job, etc. enjoy your trip and try to let any/all worries float away.

  10. Julie, I'm delighted you are here. Many thanks for the good wishes. I will be exhuburiant the minute I arrive at the airport...I always get a hight just walking into the place, long before the plane soars into the air. I miss being a forensic nurse, at least the practice of the profession...but I am always a forensic nurse at heart.

  11. I totally agree with this sentiment. Why in the world do these types of people even go on a trip like that? Why do they leave home if they want things to be just like home? I've heard people say the same types of thing. My jaw dropped.