6 February 2015

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many
of our people need it solely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome
charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating
in one corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
- Mark Twain

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I first came across this quote while reading Mark Twain's classic travel chronicle, The Innocents Abroad, when I was about 12.  As you can imagine, at that tender age, the phrase meant little to me.  But as I'd very quickly find out as I grew older, prejudice, bigotry, narrow-mindedness.... these weren't characteristics exclusive to other people, because before long, I too began displaying them - both outwardly as well as inwardly.  Which brings me to my next point.


On reflection, I feel the great author's words carry bountiful truth.  Exposure to the world does change people; I can bear personal testimony to that.  Now I'm not implying that I've become totally open-minded, unprejudiced or in any way holier-than-thou just because I have countless grains of foreign sand stuck between the grooves of my shoes' soles from 22 years of travelling - hardly so - but the fact is, I have changed.

Travel leads to experience, which further leads to learning and development.  When we travel, we cannot stay the same.  We're forced to broaden our horizons and thereby simply aren't allowed to stay the same whether we like it or not.  Depending on how you see it, a change in our environment can go either way - for the better or for the worse; I won't argue with that.  Personally though, I feel an occasional detachment from our comfort zone invariably brings with it a developmental process - one that forces us to both grow as a person as well as adapt as a citizen of an increasingly borderless, multicultural world.  Exposure to different places, people and customs opens the closed mind - be it consciously or subconsciously.


Travel helps us understand others better and teaches us to empathise.  That to me is education - and education makes us grow intellectually.  When we learn about other cultures and their ways of life, we also learn about ourselves.  We begin to realise things aren't merely about introspection anymore and that we're far more than that small, insignificant self whom we've known all along.  Suddenly, the role we play in this world seems bigger and we realise - surprise, surprise - that there are other peoples and cultures after all.  So my message to all is this: GET OUT THERE because the deeper our understanding of the people we live with, the richer and more creative the world we build together.




P/S  To find out how YOU can travel the world without breaking the bank, visit two of my earlier posts entitled "Discover the Real Hostel Experience" and "5 Common Myths & Misconceptions About Youth Hostels" .


9 comments:

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    1. Thank you for sharing your opinion, Shar. Much appreciated.

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    2. Could not agree more, but unfortunately the vast majority can't.

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    3. The very vast majority, Alister. Thank you for leaving your thoughts here.

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  2. couldn't find any reason to oppose this. well written, Vincent :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Jaclyn. Feedback from a fellow blogger is always appreciated.

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  3. Agreed! I love travel so much that i always put setting up family aside:P

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  4. Haha....u may wanna reconsider that last bit, Sylvia. But yeah, I can understand where you're coming from. Waiting to read your blog post(s) about your holiday in the Americas.

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