Travel is an exciting thing. It’s inherent in our bones, our very DNA and existence.
You’ve heard the expression if you give a man a fish he’ll eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.
Well, the same can be said about travel. Reading and researching about different cultures and destinations can only take you so far. Whereas, traveling to new places and immersing yourself into new cultures can provide you with a unique perspective.
Travel Gives Us New and Exciting Points of View
When you read a book, you’re reading the same words and the same sentences as everyone else. However, the memories and experiences you create on a trip are your own, only experienced by you – even if you’re traveling with someone else.
Experiencing new cultures and locations, learning about different histories and traditions – everything that goes into taking a trip – broadens your horizons, changing your outlook and how you choose to go forth and live.
While this makes your life more fulfilling, it also – whether you realize it or not – makes society a better place as well.
Travel Changes Your Perspective
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou
Back in 2000, the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism had their first Global Summit on Peace Through Tourism, where more than 450 world leaders from 60 countries, came together to promote and foster travel and tourism as a means to peace.
This agreement formed the “Amman Declaration,” an agreement articulating the importance of traveling as a “global vehicle for promoting understanding, trust and goodwill among peoples of the world [which] requires an appropriate political and economic framework.”
When we travel, we bring history to life. It’s one thing to read – for example – about the concentration camps in Poland, but to physically walk through the barracks and see that atmosphere firsthand, it’s an experience that will surely change your view on history and your perspective on life.
That’s not to say you have to visit such a tragic landmark in order to become more globally aware. Any travel that takes you away from your little corner of the world can have an eye-opening effect. Even something as simple as traveling to New Orleans if you live in New York can add a layer to your understanding of how people live and what they value and how it may differ from your own.
In fact, there has been many studies on the effects of international travel. In one, students found that most who had studied abroad felt that they had “become more trusting, open-minded, flexible, confident, and tolerant as a result of their travel experiences.”
Society is the sum of its parts. In order to create a well-rounded group, each individual can benefit from stretching themselves to grow and understand the world around them. While books may provide the seeds for that growth, traveling allows those seeds to take root and blossom.