I want to change the world. Before we go any farther, I want to share a quote with you.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime."
- Mark Twain (Innocents Abroad, Conclusion, Published 1869)
Travel can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You can, and should, learn about yourself and other people every time you travel. Every place you go, every interaction you have with people; there should be something interesting, introspective, or just plain fun you take away.
There are many divides around the world. People seeing difference instead of connectedness. People are often trained to put “things” into categories. It helps us reference our memory better. It helps us to quickly organize information.
Sometimes this categorizing can have a long-term effect. A snap judgement about a person will automatically put that person into a category that we have trained our brain to do over years. These categories put up barriers that create divide.
I challenge you to travel.
I challenge you to see a different walk of life; around your community, around the globe.
Think about someone other than yourself when you travel. When you go to a place, imagine yourself living there. If you had to live and work there, how would you do it? How would your beliefs differ from your current beliefs?
I’m not asking you to change who you are. I’m asking you to question your own beliefs a little bit. When we are not challenged by differing opinions or ideals, we can become stagnant.
I’m asking you to understand others. When we understand others, we can understand ourselves better.
By seeing others perspectives, you understand where they are coming from. When this happens, we can all live more peaceful lives. We can enjoy each other’s company more. We can grow with each other.
We can make this world a better place.
We can leave this earth better than how we received it.
Travel is not the only solution to making the world a better place, but it’s a great place to add to what others are already doing every day.
What do you do with this knowledge? Okay, so you ask me: “So I traveled the world and learned about other people, what do I do with all this knowledge?” There is no one right answer. In fact, there are many right answers, and you must figure out which one works for you. That’s the beauty of it. The world is so complex, that if we were to all have a one unified solution, then it would probably not work at all.
By doing your part, you help with the self-calibration process. If you find out a way you are trying to help isn’t working, you simply try another way.
Here are a few suggestions to get your mind thinking:
- Be nice to everyone you meet
- Seek to find connections during your interactions with others
- Go out of your way to help others with your knowledge
- Spread your perspective and insights with anyone willing to listen
- Ask every person you meet: “How are you today?” and mean it
I hear some people say “I don’t even like to travel.” I would ask you, “Why do you think that?” There may be some underlying issues that you can deal with. You may answer, “I just feel comfortable in my own home and life.” I’m perfectly okay with that. Sometimes it is good to get a little uncomfortable, it helps us appreciate our comforts that much more.
Sometimes fear can play into why you don’t want to do something. You may have experienced something as a young person and it has stuck with you. You may have been told something and you believe it to be true. Often times, truths we believe, are not as true as we thought. Challenge yourself to rise against the fear.
I hear some others saying “I don’t have enough time or money.” I say: “No problem.” Address the priorities you have and you’ll find that you always have the resources to travel. You just have to start small. Take the first step. Make a goal.
Be brave. Have the courage to take the first step.
If at the very least you say, “I don’t plan on traveling any more than I have to.” Then I say, that’s great! Then you can focus on every place you do go. Within your community, every little league game you attend, and every time you go to the grocery store. Instead of focusing only on you, reach out to people and see how they are doing.
I not only challenge you to travel more, but I challenge you to challenge others to travel more. When others are challenged, they will challenge even more people. I hope that by some day, that everyone is as least challenged to travel more and see the world through someone else’s eyes.
Together, we can change the world.