How would the world be different if everyone traveled? Could travel help unite the world? If everyone had traveled and experienced other countries and cultures, would there be so many wars? It’s a bit out of my comfort zone to be writing about this but anyone following the news even a bit these days can’t help but think that there are so many countries at war. And for what reasons? Differences in beliefs, religion, politics, what else?
Would you agree that many of the differences between nations, people and politicians would be altered dramatically through travel before conflicts ever began? I can only say that for me personally, travel greatly changes your opinion of a country, its people and what you ultimately think about that culture after you have finally gone and experienced that nation. Your original (and often clouded opinion) of a people or place is never the same as you thought it was.
And I don’t think I’m the only one that shares this thought. Unfortunately many will never travel to nations far and abroad (or even the ones right next door). Many will be raised only to be taught of what they should or should not believe about another culture or nation of people. My country is guilty of such as well as many other nations around the world too. It is unfortunate, yes, but for every traveler out there that can relate, I think we can all agree that travel has changed our perspectives on the world and our opinions and beliefs about a particular country are often altered forever after traveling to that destination.
We meet the people of that country, immerse ourselves in their culture, see and experience their everyday life and then and only then do we begin to challenge our original beliefs. We realize our former thoughts and opinions were nothing more than what was said and taught to us. We realize that much of what was handed down was through generations past and from the media and often, has no real basis of truth in reality to present day culture of that country.
Of course, it is perhaps very unrealistic to think that most everyone on earth would have the ability or opportunity to travel from home and experience new lands, new people and different ways of life. However, it always amazes me when people think so strongly about a culture or country and hold some very intense beliefs and convictions but after you ask them why they feel this way, they are unable to back up any of it up with real world experience. They have likely never traveled to that place nor do they really truly know what goes on there. And this is what is so scary. All their thoughts and beliefs are based solely on the thoughts and opinions of others. Or worse, based on whichever media outlet fed them their ‘news’, whether right or wrong, true or untrue.
So how much better a world it would be if we all formed our own opinions about a place after having been there and not what we’re taught or told? Would there still be as many wars? As much prejudice and hate? As many misunderstandings and disagreements? How would the world be different if everyone traveled?