No matter what side of the political aisle you fall under these days or what age group you fit into, no matter woman, man, gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, Jew – no matter what you subscribe to or group you fit into, I think we can all agree that our world is kind of a mess right now. People kill each other over things they don’t understand, kids grow up in homes that teach hate instead of love, people are targeted simply for the color of their skin or who they choose to love. Humanity is at a breaking point and I’m pretty sure all of us would agree that most of the above are not how we want to leave the world for future generations.
We spend so much of our time fighting left vs. right, good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, that sometimes we forget to take a step back and see each other for who we are: human beings living on this planet together. We don’t have another planet to escape to if we ruin this one, we don’t have endless land to conquer when we destroy our countries to start over again. We have one life on this Earth to be thoughtful and decent and hardworking and honest. We have one life to help each other, to reach out when others are in need. We have one life to leave a lasting impact and to teach the next generations to learn from our mistakes. We have one life to simply be the best we can be but we have to understand each other, we have to accept knowledge over ignorance, we have to accept differences over fighting. We have to open our hearts and our minds and we have to do it willingly. We have to acknowledge we’ll never know everything about someone else, but we can have empathy for what they go through. We have to acknowledge that the world is huge and tiny at the same time and the only thing that might save us is by seeing the world for ourselves, to learn and seek and diversify our minds. If we let it, travel can change the world.
I can’t tell you the lessons travel has taught me, lessons upon lessons that I never would have learned any other way. Travel will open your minds without you even knowing, it will open your eyes to millions of things and people and places you never even knew existed. Travel will teach and embrace you. It shows us our commonalities outweigh our differences. Travel shows us a side of our planet that is different, yet so very much the same as the place we’re from. As the quote goes, “I’m not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” So are we not the same after we open ourselves to travel.
Travel has brought a dimension to my life that I’ll never stop being grateful for and it’s something I’ll spend my life promoting because it’s travel that has the hope to change the world if we let it, travel that can bring us together when we’re so divided. So if you’re looking for a way to make a change in your life or you’re wondering how to educate yourself further on world issues or you’re trying to understand someone else’s viewpoint? Book a ticket somewhere meaningful. Go see the history at Machu Picchu or wander tiny villages in Italy or stand under the Eiffel Tower at sunset or wander the markets in India. Go pray in Bali or see incredible landscapes in Iceland or have mint tea with Moroccans. There is no place on this Earth that you can’t travel to that won’t teach you something or that you’ll come back feeling changed if you open yourself up to the lessons the place will impart. And that’s not to say you can’t travel within your own country too – go see how the West Coast of the US is different than the East Coast, road trip through the Heartland, visit the American SW or the mountains of Montana. Travel doesn’t have to mean going far – it only has to mean being open minded to whatever you may encounter along the way.
And so in a world divided, in a nation on the brink of chaos, let’s open our minds and hearts, let’s forget our differences just for now and let’s just go see the world.