In 1996 I joined a small group of medical personnel on a trip to Mexico
. We worked in Morelia, a small village in Chiapas. One day I had some free time and sat out on the soccer field, writing in my journal. A gaggle of young boys came running through the field, shouting, “Vamos, vamos.” I barely spoke Spanish, but knew enough that they were encouraging me to join them. I was intrigued, but apprehensive as there was still a shadow of rebel activity looming over the region. Then I noted two women from a human rights organization in the group; I picked up my belongings and ran along. After a brief trek, we came to a small pond, where the boys stripped down and jumped in. I hadn’t planned for a swim, but joined them, fully dressed. One of the boys paddled up to me, held my hand up in the air, and announced to the crowd, “Todos somos amigos!” -- “We are all friends!” It was a golden moment in my life. I realized that travel can connect you to others despite age gaps, cultural contrasts, and language barriers, and although our daily existences occupy different worlds, we all belong to one world.