We Are Caminantes

Caminante, no hay camino

Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace el camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante no hay camino
sino estelas en la mar.

-Antonio Machado

I know that was a lot of Spanish. But stick with me here.

Antonio Mahado‘s poem “Caminante, no hay camino” is actually very famous all over the world, especially among Spanish speakers. I didn’t hear of it until a few years ago, when I was living in Costa Rica. Here’s a rough English translation:

Walker, there is no path

Walker, the only way
Is your footprints and no other.
Walker, there is no way.
Make your way by going farther.
By going farther, make your way
Till looking back at where you’ve wandered,
You look back on that path you may
Not set foot on from now onward.
Walker, there is no way;
Only wake-trails on the waters.

-Antonio Machado

There are many times in our lives when there is no perfect path forward. But when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too. Contrary to popular belief, acting with purpose is NOT about knowing exactly what you want to do with your life. Just as Antonio Machado taught us, purpose is not about the path. 

Purpose is thinking: Not me, but you. 

Purpose is using our resources to give back in whatever small way we can.

Purpose is seeing those who are too often invisible.  

Purpose is choosing diversity as a way of life.

Purpose is global competence. 

When organizations connect the world through business abroad or give back locally, they are showing global competence. Travelers demonstrate global competence by spending time among cultures disparate from theirs. Students can choose to learn about foreign languages and world studies. Companies can teach their customers about diversity, whether they prepare cultural foods or sell environmentally conscious products. We can all befriend peers from different backgrounds.

Global competence is as simple as chatting with a stranger about how their life isn’t much like yours. It does not matter where you are in the world. Global competence seems like a big word- an unreachable goal, but it’s not. Caminantes live with global competence.

Caminantes are those who seek to understand the world and give back to improve it. “Caminante” means “traveler”, “walker”, or “wayfarer” in Spanish. Caminantes act with purpose, even if the way forward is unclear. I focus my blog on what I learn from these people and companies who foster global competence in their own way. We are all caminantes.

Peru
Americans and Peruvians installing a drip-chlorination system to create clean drinking water

What if we saw the world as it truly is? Let’s throw away the narrative of division and conflict. Before I started looking for global competence around me, I was completely unaware of it. Now, I see that humans right in front of me are filling the world with culture, learning, and joy. We do not have to board a plane or give up our lifestyles to understand others as they truly are. Global competence is about moving forward into a future of unity.

To be a competitive professional in an ever-increasing global environment, it is imperative to work with those who are different than us. Professional careers are no longer centered around a small town. Rather, the best companies and universities are worldwide. Notice how international campuses, offices, and distribution centers are popping up everywhere. Global competence is not only a way for you to grow personally, but professionally.

Global Comp
Students from Mexico and USA working together on meaningful engineering projects.

Join me in seeing those who are not often seen. Let’s celebrate the beauty of humanity, found right here, right now. We are all caminantes! Together, we make our path as we walk on it.

5 comments on “We Are Caminantes

  1. Pingback: Global Competence via Angela Duckworth’s Grit – Lexi Robertson

  2. Pingback: Students from Mexico and USA work together – Caminante

  3. Me gusta: “se hace camino al andar”. Eso es verdad. Saludos desde Fnlandia.

    Liked by 1 person

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