As a professional mountain biker, I've been fortunate enough to race through more than 20 countries. The great thing about multiday races is they allow you to pass remote parts of a region that most tourists never experience. I've ridden through ramshackle villages where people have never seen a white person, let alone a girl on a mountain bike.
Though at times it's left me feeling guilty about being a well-off Westerner, visiting less developed countries like Haiti, Nepal, Mongolia, Morocco, and Sri Lanka has changed my perspective. The children in these place, in particular, have taught me so much about the true meaning of a prosperous life.
Most of them own very few personal belongings, and yet they are enthusiastic and full of light and curiosity. They appear to be unburdened by their poverty because they simply don't know the difference. I'd be riding through a town of 200 people through the Sahara Desert and without fail, kids would line the streets with their little hands raised to give me a high-five or run next to me. Other kids would be busy playing with sticks nearby, singing and laughing and enjoying themselves with less.
Compared to our Western society where kids spend an average of 28 hours per week watching TV, there are some great lessons we can take away from the simplicity of kids in developing countries. The beckoning question is "what does it mean to be fulfilled?”