I was having a great conversation with a few passionate travelers recently, and we were talking about the importance of traveling. Travel, particularly international travel, is something everyone should get to experience at least once. Set aside the food, sights, and excursions for a moment. The argument I’m making for travel goes a bit deeper than that.
#1 You Learn How We’re Different
When you travel abroad you are entering yourself into a new way of life. Through different customs, rituals, and food you’re able to experience the uniqueness of different cultures. When you’re growing up you become accustomed to your community’s way of life.
Without travel it’s easy to be blind to the fact that your way of life accounts for only a small minority of how the Earth’s population lives. You fall into the trap of thinking your way is the only way. This is a dangerous trap to fall into. Being able to recognize the place from which others view the world enables you to understand, even appreciate, these differences.
Yet, even with our differences…
#2 You Learn How We’re All The Same
At the end of the day, we all share a similar human experience. Whether we’re on the other side of the world or in our own backyard, we [mostly] all universally hate early mornings and long work weeks. We look forward to fun activities with our friends on the weekend, and spending time with our families. We enjoy going out for a nice meal and eating too many calories in dessert.
We all want to be able to support a comfortable living for ourselves and our families, and feel like we made an impact with our lives. We want to feel useful, loved, and appreciated. We suffer heartbreak and loss at the end of a romantic bond, or the passing of a loved one.
In today’s world, these things—an appreciation of our differences and a recognition of our sameness—are needed now more than ever.
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