22 September 2020

Travel is education; learn to see the world differently

 "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
I first came across this passage years ago while reading Mark Twain's travel chronicle, The Innocents Abroad.  Frankly (and as they probably would to most 14 year-olds), the words meant zilch to me at the time - so much so, in fact, that they came across as little more than a mouthful of masterfully-penciled literary jargon.

As I grew older, however, I of course very quickly discovered for myself that prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness weren't traits exclusive to other people because, before long, I too began displaying them - both inwardly and outwardly.  Which brings me to my next point.
 
I feel the great author's words carry bountiful truth.  Exposure to the world does change people; I can bear testimony to that.  Now, I'm not saying I have in any way become unequivocally broad-minded, unbiased or holier-than-thou by virtue of the countless grains of foreign sand stuck to my boots from nearly thirty years of travelling - hardly so - but the truth is I have changed.

You see, travel leads to experience which in turn leads to learning, development and self-discovery.  When we travel, we cannot stay the same; it's impossible.  We are forced to broaden our horizons, adopt new routines, learn strange lingos and thereby simply aren't allowed to stay the same whether we like it or not.

When we learn about other cultures, we also learn about ourselves.


Depending on how one sees it, a change of environment can of course swing either way - for better or for worse; that much is clear.  In spite of this, however, I've always held that an occasional detachment from our comfort zone is necessary because it inevitably brings about a developmental process - one so positively impactful and enlightening it forces us to both grow as an individual as well as adapt as a citizen of an increasingly borderless, multicultural world.

Exposure to places, people and customs unfamiliar opens our eyes and unlatches the closed mind without us even realising it.  Seeing foreign lands helps us to understand others better and teaches us to connect. More importantly, it instills in us a greater sense of empathy as well as respect for people other than ourselves.  THAT to me is education - and education makes us grow intellectually.

The four key things we learn to do when we travel.
 
When we learn about other cultures and their ways, inescapably we also learn about ourselves.  We begin to realise things aren't merely about introspection anymore and that we're in fact far more than that tiny, insignificant self whom we've known all these years.  Suddenly the role we play in this world seems much bigger and we realise - surprise, surprise - there are other people and cultures after all!

So my message to all is this: GET OUT THERE if you can and learn to see the world in a different light - without bias, without prejudice - because the deeper our understanding of the world we live in, the richer and more creative the world we build together.




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:

  1. Replies
    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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