I got an email recently from a senior in high school (in Newark, Illinois) doing a research project on the topic of traveling and the effect that experiencing different cultures has on a person, and I agreed to answer a few questions.
There are 7 questions, and my goal is to answer one a day for the next week. The first question:
How was traveling affected your openness to other cultures, politics and events?
Quite simply, those who haven’t traveled are living under a shell.
Prior to embarking on my first trip abroad in 2005 — I had no freaking clue how the majority of the world lived. I thought life in Sammamish (20 minutes east of Seattle) was “normal”.
Boy, was I wrong.
If you are even reading this in the first place, you are living a very privileged life. The vast majority of the world doesn’t live the way we do. Basic items such as food, shoes, television, shelter, and water are not guaranteed — they are luxuries for much of the world’s population. I’ve written a few posts along these lines HERE and HERE.
One easy example of the difference is transportation in Africa (Ghana). Hanging off the back of a truck in Ghana with 5 other people, and 15 people inside? You’d never dream of doing such a thing in the United States. Well, that’s “normal” in Ghana.
In short, I am exponentially more open to foreign cultures, politics, and events as a result of traveling.
Add any thoughts you have on this subject in the comments, por favor.