Traveling as a New Discovery

I cannot recall any point in my life when I had a passion for traveling, in fact, not only was I adamant at traveling, but I also thought of it as a waste of time. So often, I would see my big sister packing her bags and going for adventures with her pals. She would return after a couple of weeks or even a month, exhilarated with endless stories of the people she encountered and adorned experiences that she would never trade for anything. Irrespective of how colorful she would make them, to me traveling was still pointless. I often considered that the time “wasted” on traveling I would better spend with my friends or learning new things. However, it was not long before my thoughts towards traveling altered and took a new perspective. What I once abhorred has now become my new thrill. I have a new aim in life, which is to explore as many places as possible and interact with new cultures that I never knew existed. My discovery started when I got the opportunity to travel to St. Kitts and Nevis, an island betwixt the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. After traveling to St. Kitts and Nevis and interacting with the people of the country, my thoughts towards traveling never stayed the same, and my discovery was the thrill that one finds in adventures, as there is no bliss to measure it.

It was in early days of December, the chills and thrills of winter were overwhelming the neighborhood; a sight so familiar yet different every year. I recall that evening my dad arrived and called us to the sitting room where he announced to my family that in two weeks time we would travel to St. Kitts and Nevis. My heart crushed at the thought of spending Christmas away from home, away from everything I had known. None of us had ever been to the Caribbean Islands except for my dad who traveled to Honduras a couple of years ago and came home telling us how magical Caribbean islands were, and this is one of the reasons my sister took traveling as her primary hobby. That night I spent hours on the phone with my friend who gave me courage and convinced me that maybe it would turn out to be the biggest discovery of my life.

Two weeks had quickly gone by, and suddenly we were seated in a taxi taking us to our hotel room. I was still depressed by the encountered unfamiliarity; a land with no snow, and a land that was hot even in December. On our first night, everything seemed different apart from the familiar faces of my father, mother, and sister. I was unexpressed in most of the conversations. Most of the time, I was on the phone with my friends as I explained my sentiments of lament to accept the offer of traveling away from home.

They say best adventures are the ones unplanned and approached with low expectation because you cannot be disappointed if you are already disappointed. The city of Charlestown was not quite what I expected it to be and what I thought would be a town behind in development, turned out to be quite similar to what I am used to, apart from the strange faces of course. As we traversed the streets of Charlestown on the first Saturday, we were welcomed with a lot of courtesy as the people were very friendly. At no single point did I see anyone not offering us a grace-filled smile. It was at this point I noticed the beauty of traveling and the wonders of this fascinating city. We were in a marketplace filled with hundreds of people from different countries and cultures admiring the curios displayed for sale. It was unbelievable that such a small space held so much magic to attract individuals who interacted with each other as they bought souvenirs and decorations. The ambiance was peaceful and jolly even as the midday sun pierced through my forehead leaving me feeling sweltering.

The next adventure came when we drove miles away from the city to a game reserve. I must say it is a different thing to see and feel the moment. Before this day, I heard of flamingos, great barracudas, monkey and the Nevisians culture only on television or through reading traveling books and blogs. On this day of adventure, I was marveled beyond expectations. I conceived it right that no pleasure surpasses being in a moment you never thought existed. The Nevisians people were nothing like I had ever seen. After many years, it was amazing to see there were certain cultures that modernity had not tampered.

A famous quote says, “Wherever you go becomes a part of you.” To me, my home was always the part of me that I never wanted to let go, but I learned from this discovery that it is until you free what you hold in your palms, do you get to receive something greater. From experience I shared with the friendly people of Saint Kitts and Nevis, I learned that traveling is not just a matter of enjoying the scenic route or having the silent moments of wonder as you are on the airplane or bus, but rather it is about challenging oneself. I discovered that traveling to new locations shares similar scientific discovery; it is about encountering ideas and people you did not know existed and having new perspective towards life. For example, I realized how there are many things we take for granted here at home that other people would pray to have.

A conversation I had with one of the people we met at Saint Kitts and Nevis shaped my idea of finding joy in moments and not things, and the best way one can achieve this is by denying oneself the need to put a value on everything. There is a greater lot of stuff that shapes my being than something I get to learn from the books I read or from the sitting at home. Such include how to make meaningful relationships and how to the opportunity to change the world. By seeing that there are several basic things that people lack, I found the need to get out of my comfort zone and use whatever I have to influence the world.

The discovery I made in the last one year is the beauty embossed in adventure and the hidden moments betwixt unexplored cultures and seeing life from a different perspective. My aim is to travel as often as I can and if possible travel back to Caribbean Islands so that I can explore its vast beauty.

Mosque Trip

I visited the Islamic Center of Washington which is the center of Islam and a mosque. The mosque is situated on the Embassy Row near the Rock Creek and was opened in 1957 as the biggest mosque in the western hemisphere.   A mosque also known as Masjid is the site for adoration in Islam although prayers can be conducted privately (Russell & Cohn, 2012).   I reached the site during the mid-day players where I met a huge congregation of believers taking part in prayer led by the Sheikh.   I was allowed to enter after the prayers were over, but I was allowed to check how they were done. After prayers, I was able to visit different sections within the mosque where I observed different features.

The mosque consists different architectural parts including the dome, minaret, prayer hall, mihrab, minbar and ablution area.  Minaret refers to the slim tower which is one of the distinctive feature of all mosques in the world.  The major purpose of the tower was to make the call for prayers during the worship time.  The rooftop was decorated with the dome which holds no symbolic or spiritual significance, but it is purely aesthetic.   The dome covered the major prayer hall, and its interior was highly adorned with geometric, floral and different patterns.

The prayer area is located at the center of the structure which is also regarded as musalla and is left bare.  However, the floor is covered with the prayer rugs where worshippers kneel, prostrate and bow on the ground in humbleness before God.   However, there were few benches and chairs to help disabled and elderly Muslims who have problems with mobility.  There are bookshelves along the pillars and walls which are meant to hold wooden book stands, Quran, personal prayer rugs and other religious materials.  The prayer site is a larger and open space which can accommodate many people.   Further, a mihrab which is the semi-circular ornament is placed on the wall of the prayer room and marks the direction of Mecca where Muslims face when praying.   The mihrab was decorated with calligraphy and mosaic tiles while designed like the doorway.

At the front areas of the prayer hall, there is a raised platform known as minbar where speeches or sermons are given.  The platform is made of carved stone, wood and brick.   Also, the minbar entails the short staircase leading to the highest platform which was covered by the small dome, and at the bottom, there is a doorway.  The speaker moves up the stairs and either stands or sits on the minbar while talking to the congregation.   There were microphones which were used to amplify voice so that it can reach all worshippers.   On the washrooms, there was the ablution section that contains small stools and running water for the washing of feet before entering the mosque.   During the ablution, worshippers washed their body parts that are exposed to grime and dirt.   On the entrance, there were shoe shelves because Muslims remove do not enter the mosque with footwear.  Instead of dumping piles of shoes near the entrance, shelves are strategically placed at the main door so that visitors may neatly organize and find their shoes.

The prayer rugs in the prayer room were about one meter long where an adult can fit when prostrating or kneeling.   Many Qurans that were placed on the wall of the prayer areas were divided into chapters and verses known as surah and ayat, but the entire doctrine is separated into 30 sections.  However, the mosque had separate praying places for men and women because they are not supposed to interact.   According to Islamic culture, the separation of males and females in the mosque is to preserve the sense of decorum and maintain the focus of the attendants to God (Russell & Cohn, 2012). I was restricted from getting into the sacred place which is the prayer section because I was a nonbeliever.

During the prayers, believers must step with their right leg inside the mosque while wearing appropriate clothes.  The imam prayed similar role to that of a priest, and all worshippers faced Mecca while reciting some verses of Quran. After recitation, the next step is the sequence of position regarded as salat.  When comparing the prayer session at the mosque and my Christian faith, I realized that there existed a big difference.  Initially, prayers were conducted when all believers are bowing and kneeling down whereas in Christian faith the kneeling is voluntary.   Additionally, the Islam emphasizes on fixed prayer periods and requires people to pray five times a day. On the other hand, praying in Christianity is voluntary, and one can pray in different instances and as many times as possible. Conclusively, the field trip was educative since I learned knew things about Islam and the structure of a mosque. Furthermore, the tour helped me to realize that we have different religious in the world that have specific culture and way of doing things hence we should respect each other.

Write an Essay: Smoking as a Psychological Habit

Smoking is one of the most harmful habits that people around the globe undertake while overlooking the dangers. In the case above it is clear that, Gail’s paternal grandmother died as a result of a heart attack. It is evident that she was a habitual smoker of tobacco and this played a key role in accelerating her heart attack. Lung cancer is the other discovery made about his grandmother at her time of death. It is clear in this case that the various complications that developed over time were caused by tobacco smoking.

Intervention

Smoking being a dangerous activity for one to participate in causes several preventable diseases although heart disease is the most common. Smoking tobacco tends to harm all parts of the body including the heart with responsibility to pump blood around the body (Alexandrov, et al, 620). One of the major effects of smoking is blockage and narrowing of arteries. The effects tend to come after a period of time as one starts to strain while breathing. Heart disease is a preventable disease that can be avoided if one quits smoking. One of the short term goals a smoker should have is reducing the amount smoked in a day. The ultimate goal in such a situation is completely quitting smoking.

Medical personnel play a huge role in seeking ways to overcome bad habits that one may develop such as smoking. It is hence important for one to have a clear plan through which the habit is replaced. Behavioral therapy is one of the most effective ways through which one can quit smoking (Jha, and Richard, 64). In many cases one may seek ways of quitting smoking without outside help although ineffective. It is hence for this reason that, Behavioral therapy is done to ensure one overcomes smoking.

Evaluation

Smoking is a habit that one acquires over time, hence the need to seek professional help while quitting. Behavioral therapy depends on a routine established by a therapist in a bid to overcome nicotine addiction. The first step is identifying the various triggers that pushes one to smoke. The triggers in most cases are psychological hence important to identify the weaknesses. The therapist in this case is likely to offer solutions to the victim on ways to overcome the cravings. Behavioral therapy is the most successful way through which one may overcome smoking (US Department of Health and Human Services, 3).

Behavioral therapy is one of the most effective ways through which one can overcome smoking although one needs to reevaluate progress. The process might take a lot of time hence important to have a chart to record progress. It is important to note the various periods that the urge grew than other times. It is possible to identify the various periods that it became difficult to overcome the urge. It is by identifying the various periods that one may improve by replacing time spent while smoking. The process might be difficult although with necessary help it is possible to overcome the habit.

Summary

In the end it is clear that, various smoking being an acquired habit is possible to overcome with help. Smoking is the leading cause of heart diseases that develop overtime and other complications in the body. It is important to seek help at the earliest stage possible in a bid to overcome resulting problems. It is also important to seek ways of evaluating progress made while seeking counseling help.