These are my truths. My expat community and my Taiwan family have made me a better person, and these are some of the lessons I learned from them. Obviously there are limits and standards to every single one, but I’m not going to go through them all. This is a blog post, not a piece of legislature.

You have gifts. Share them.

Talk to people you don’t know.

The world is smaller than you think.

Material possessions slow you down.

You have to accept yourself, flaws and all.

Get involved somehow with your community.

People know when you’re only in it for the money.

Don’t talk about people unkindly behind their backs.

Who cares who’s looking? Be yourself, and joyfully so.

It might be weird to you, but it’s normal to someone else.

It might be normal to you, but it’s weird to someone else.

Slavery and racism still exist, and neither are going away.

Experiences are important, but people are more important.

Politics suck no matter where you’re from or where you live.

Stay in touch with the people in your life. It takes effort. You have to try.

Gossip spreads more quickly in adulthood than it ever did in high school.

Everyone has a niche (or two). Don’t ignore others or treat them unequally.

Many Americans are incredibly blessed, but many of them don’t appreciate it.

Love comes in unexpected ways, at unexpected times, from unexpected places.

Take care of others simply because someone once took care of you. Pay it forward.

Holidays are about good company and sharing time with people around you. That’s it.

Language barriers are far less important than smiles, kind eyes, patience, and respect.

If someone cooks something for you, try it. Be grateful for it. If you can, learn to like it.

Try to say Yes as often as possible to activities and ideas that will make you a better you.

Respecting someone else’s beliefs is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give or receive.

Be ready for everything to go wrong or be more complicated than you expected. That’s life.

Words and actions mean different things to different people, and they should be respected.

Anyone who drains you, or takes without giving back, will make you unhealthy and unhappy.

If you love it, travel will change your life. Don’t fear it. Travel responsibly, and make the world a better place in your wake.