The world is a vast place – there are millions of places to visit in more than 200 countries, each with its own history and culture. There are so many travel destinations that it is almost impossible to visit them all in one lifetime, but what we can do is try our best. I recently read an article on LinkedIn posted by Marriot International CEO Arne Sorenson that gave a pretty good picture of how travel can make a difference in our life and thinking – opening our eyes to see the bigger picture.
The main reason I swayed towards reading in article is because I concur on the fact that travelling opens your eyes. Not so long ago I had the experience of being in the company of a very narrow minded individual – a conversation that left me shocked at the limited thinking. Their opinion of other cultures, races and nationalities were borderline racist and inappropriate – and far from the truth! This made me question their upbringing and their experiences in the world, and boy was I surprised.
Interestingly enough, this person had traveled across 3 continents, but because of their limited access to cultural heritage of different countries, they managed to only – just about – scrape the surface of becoming a well-traveled person.
My conclusion from this experience was: you don’t just travel for the sake of travelling or to cross off a country from your bucket list – you travel to gain experience, and this can only be a true experience if you allow it to be. If you travel to Sri Lanka to stay in a 5* resort where you spend your days by the pool and not venture out, you might as well had booked a hotel in the country you live in. Without visiting the elephant orphanage or venturing into the beautiful landscape of the country, how can you honestly say you have experienced it? How would you even have an initial impression of the country apart from the Facebook album you upload?!
Personally, I believe that ignorance is the worst quality someone can possess – a trait that you should rid of immediately. One of the ways of doing this is by opening your eyes to possibilities you hadn’t imagined – something that travel allows you to do. So instead of having a prejudiced opinion of countries you haven’t been to and people you haven’t met, venture out to explore the world and form your opinion based on something substantial. This will not only make you a better person, it will make you be part of a bigger picture – rather than just being an observer if it!