Travel helps us understand the world better, and with better understanding come better decisions, better outcomes, fewer frustrations from mistakes, and a host of other beneficial effects.
It’s a fairly simple concept. Consider many life scenarios.
Doctors can read all the textbooks in the world, but nothing will ever prepare them for the rigors of a shift in a shock-trauma center like actually being there.
You can read all the textbooks in the world and take classes on parenting, but until you’ve had a child, it’s just not the same, and even then, each child can bring a unique set of challenges — ask any parent of more than one child.
We’ve all seen ridiculously heavy traffic on TV and in the movies, but until you’ve driven in it, you just don’t know how best to deal with it. For example, New Yorkers actually seem to get the concept when every other car needs to merge into a single lane, and they honor that.
The same can be said about geography, the study of place.
Currently, many observe deep political divisions in our nation. It’s actually less about north or south and more about rural versus urban. The hot “gun” issue is an example. Urban folks often grew up in scenarios where guns are only seen in bad times, whereas rural folks may reflect on happy memories of target shooting in the backyard with grandpa or hunting with dad, or see guns as a source of protection in an area where response time to a 911 call could be an hour.
While travel and the exposure it brings can impact the hot button issues we face, the greater understanding comes from the thousands of smaller things your subconscious picks up when you travel.
For example, in Germany, there seems to be virtually no littering anywhere. And, don’t rest your foot on a seating surface anywhere or leave your car idling at a red light. They really appreciate order and cleanliness.
Stop in any diner in the small, rural towns of our neighboring states and ponder, “How can they sell this great food so inexpensively?” Well, part of that may be comparatively lower wages and the lower cost of property. See what a big deal festivals are in many regions.
Of course, I’ve found many differences in my home area compared to just about everywhere I’ve traveled, but there is one thing they all seem to have in common. Pretty much every region is filled with good people.
It all takes time, often a lifetime of traveling, to truly appreciate how all kinds of elements make up the fabric of an area. It’s that travel that leads to understanding, and understanding can lead to better relations all around. I’ve often admired the European model of kids taking a year or so off after schooling to travel. It broadens their perspective at a great time prior to setting off on big life choices.
Begin with baby steps. Make those weekend getaways. Read and plan. We are
here to help!