By Jack Barker

My experience in India so far has brought me a change in personal views. When I first came to India, I didn’t know what to expect honestly. I felt like I was knowledgeable about many things, but the people in India and their culture was not one. I was certainly pretty curious about what I would learn about the people and the way they acted because of religion. These days the U.S. and the main news corporations often depict the people of other religions, specifically the Muslims, as heartless people who hate everything. I knew this was wrong, but I didn’t know how wrong the statement was. I found out that the statement couldn’t be farther from the truth.


As I have grown up on the Eastern shore of Virginia, a lot of my thoughts have been twisted a little bit. My mom was very cultured so I had always had her for good guidance, but still, she couldn’t stop a lot of close-minded people from also influencing me. When I first came to India I was scared that the people would hate Americans, and I would be scowled at as I walked down the street. I was wrong; the people looked at me no differently than anyone else. Now, I’m laughing because of the fact that I was scared of people that were different than me.


This had me thinking about life and cultures of the whole world. Last night we watched the sunset and the moonrise at the same time over the Bay of Bengal. It was beautiful, and I thought about people and how they see the sunset and moonrise just like I do. Maybe if some people would see the small things about everyone they wouldn’t be so quick to judge, this includes me. All people eat, breath, sleep and see the sunset just like me. I have learned if you keep an open mind most people will be different than what you expected.

5 responses to “Experiencing Common Ground”

  1. Jenny Barker Avatar
    Jenny Barker

    This is a very touching observation, Jack. Your description of the setting sun & the rising moon over the Bay, has given me pause. And, You are very right, my son. We should never be scared of people because they are different, instead we should embrace them for those differences. It’s such an important lesson to learn and it’s lovely to hear you’re discovering this on your own. I’m so proud of you and your thoughtful introspection.

  2. Dave's Mom Avatar
    Dave’s Mom

    Jack – Seems to me that you have already understood one of the main missions of the trip. Be open-minded and you will view all the people of the world in a new light. We all have far more in common than how we are different. I’ll look forward to another post by you after a few days in Agora. Those magical people will really open your eyes and your heart.

  3. Kelly Goodrich Avatar
    Kelly Goodrich

    And *this* is why we travel.
    A beautiful post, Jack. I look forward to hearing more when you return.

  4. Angela Showalter Avatar
    Angela Showalter

    I really like this, Jack. You noticed something important about people on the other side of the world, and even better–you noticed something about yourself. This kind of immersive, connected travel brings color, depth, and complexity to the stories we tell ourselves about the world. Great job opening yourself to the experience and the wisdom it can bring.

  5. Bennett Carroll Avatar
    Bennett Carroll

    Hey cousin Jack. I’m incredibly proud of this write up. Travelling to different parts of the world and experiencing new cultures has been the passion of my life. Don’t stop exploring after you return from India, you’ve just scratched the surface. Beyond the different languages and customs, you’ll continue to realise how much you have in common with boys and girls your own age right round the world. Let me know if you’d ever like to visit London. Benney

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