It’s the great conundrum of life: You don’t get to pick the genes you get, and you can’t pick the genes you give. How I wish I received my father’s near concert-level piano playing music skills. I had piano and lessons as a kid, took clarinet in late elementary school and early middle school, tried guitar as a young adult, and despite efforts and enthusiasm, I simply lack the talent. My brother got that instead. What did I get? Well for one, the diabetic pancreas. Ugh! I wish I could trade. My son simply understands math with little explanation. It comes easily to him. Yup, thank me for that one . . . and oh, by the way, sorry for that stubborn gene, and I really hope you don’t show up later in life with that diabetic gene rearing its head.
As I said, you don’t get to pick the genes you get, and you can’t pick the genes you give. You didn’t get to pick your ethnicity, your race, your parents or the location of the world you entered life in. But you do get to choose whether or not you dislike, hate or treat negatively someone because of any of these qualities they did not pick.
We tend to place so much relevance toward where we were born, and justifiably so. It does play a significant role in our lives. Perhaps less so today than in less mobile times of decades ago, but pretty big for most of us nonetheless. Travel expands your world as well as diminishes the perceived importance of space. For example, if you lived in a small studio apartment, that room’s every aspect is fairly important, whereas if you had a 20-room home, many of those rooms will have far less importance. In reality, the whole world, the planet, is your home. Realistically, even if you have substantial means, you’ll never see the whole of it, not even a percentage of it. But it’s not a winner-take-all game. You can increase your radius from your neighborhood to neighboring counties and states and nearby regions. In addition to the change of pace, the excitement of discovery, the stimulation and education you can get from traveling on vacation you also gain a better understanding of life and the world. Yes, even lounging at the beach, breaching salt air, hearing waves crash and seagulls squawk, you get some of this.
The greatest part of all of this is choice. You get to choose where you go, where you live, what you wish to see most and how to best accomplish this within your means and desires. The side benefit is awesome. You get expanded views and expanded knowledge, and nobody can take it away.
As Mark Twain once said, “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.”
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