Sometimes it is the realisation of how much we don’t know that can be more enlightening. A little taste of travelling can leave you with a permanent sense of curiosity of the things that are yet to be explored. Sometimes the process of exploring can strip us bare, exposing our ignorance of who and what we share our world with leaving us feeling humble. There is a whole planet to see, people to meet, history to learn, cultures to take in, mountains and oceans to observe and minds to broaden.
Lets get this straight, not everyone enjoys travelling! When you get ripped off just because you are a foreigner, when you don’t understand the system of a new place (it is ridiculous to have to pay to use the loo!) when you are lost and the only person you can ask for directions doesn’t speak English or when you get homesick, travelling can seem like an expensive misadventure. It does get challenging when you have to step outside your comfort zone and deal with people who come from completely different cultures, religion or speak a language you don’t understand. Travelling can be frustrating when things don’t work in a way that you are used to (crossing the roads of Kathmandu can be one of the scariest things you will do). But if you stop fearing what you don’t know, leaving behind at home your need to control everything and be able to bathe in the colours of “difference”, travelling can become quite an important learning process in your life. Learning about yourself as much as about others.
The world would be a pretty dull place if everyone looked the same, came from the same background and spoke the same language or if we all had the same history, the same landscape, views and values. It would be like belonging to a mass production of robots, or like seeing other people wear the same outfit as you when you thought your taste reflected “originality”, from experience this can be quite disappointing. What adds character to our surroundings is the originality that DOES exist in countries, communities and in individuals. The trick is to stay open enough to be able to see this. Issues such as racism do not sprout out of hatred, we use hatred as a defence mechanism because we fear what we don’t know, and the root cause of fear is ignorance. Travelling is a great practice that helps rid ourselves of judgements we hold about others who are different from us and allows us to accept and even enjoy the diversity that is around us.
I have to admit time does not allow us to see everything the world has to offer. However, with a bit of travelling experience not only do we bring back the knowledge of a new place and its people but we may also bring back genuine acceptance of difference in people, culture, religion, language and so forth. We might even begin to appreciate the vastness of the world we live in and learn to approach people in our everyday life with less judgement and more acceptance of who they are.