Expand Your Mind – Travel the World
Monday October 4, 2010

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“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.”

-Mark Twain

Twain so bluntly and accurately describes one of the immense benefits of seeing the world.  To not understand someone else’s culture often breeds fear which causes one to become more reliant and dependent on the belief that their way of life is the best. To remain in this belief, to refuse to seek out information, is detrimental to the potential education you can allow yourself to soak up. Ultimately, it’s not a matter of declaring any one way of living as being the best, but to realize that there are many different ways of choosing to live and to be accepting and understanding of the diversity that so richly makes up our world.

I can remember vividly when my first trip abroad occurred.  It took place during college as I was about to begin to study in France for the summer of 2000.  The anticipation was intoxicating and overwhelming. And I can remember the adrenaline rush, as it kept me going for 27 hours until I finally fell asleep utterly exhausted in Angers, France – my destination.

What became instantly clear to me was that other cultures get along just fine going about life in a way that may seem foreign to outsiders, just as my cultural tendencies may seem foreign to someone else as well.  I can remember conversing (or trying to converse) with students from Spain, Norway, Sweden and Germany, and feeling less self-assured, but at the same time reassured because everyone else was trying to live their life as well in the best way they knew how.

Now, being that this was my first extended trip abroad, I was more than eager to fly home after the summer, but the funny thing was –  I caught the bug. The bug that constantly is encouraging me to get on a plane or a train (love the ease of traveling in Europe) and just get away from the day-to-day routine that I’ve created so that I can appreciate it even more.

Upon returning from many of my adventures, I tend to have that “travel’s high” where I imagine living in the place I have just returned from.  More often than not, I come back to earth and realize that I’ve created a fairly wonderful life right where I am, but it is in the traveling that strengthens my appreciation.  It is also the traveling that opens my mind to understand that there are many ways of living and living well, and judgment should not be so quickly placed on those cultures we don’t understand.

I would be willing to wager that the majority of society is truly trying to make it through the day, achieve a bit of happiness and feel loved for who they are. Not everyone can grow up in the same environment, and I for one wouldn’t want that because that is what makes this world a place of curiosity, possibility and beauty.  After all, the potential for beauty can be found is so many wonderful, exotic, unexpected places if only we choose to see it, be less judgmental and observe without preconceived notions of what “should be”.

It has been recently reported that one of the many ingredients to a truly happy life is to travel abroad two times a year. And I have to say I think there is something to it.  Whether you are traveling to relax and unwind, spend time with family and loved ones or simply getting away from the daily routine, it is in the being away that helps you to understand and realize how wonderful your life is already or has the potential to be.  It is the perspective that you gain in your yearly journeys that expands your world welcoming in more happiness.  So whether it is a trip around the world or to the other side of your state, consider trying to incorporate a few more miles in your life.  You might just be surprised what it is added to your world.

Have a wonderful Monday.


8 thoughts on “Expand Your Mind – Travel the World

  1. As you know, travel is the thing I wish for myself more than ever in the future. As a child, my fondest memories were all of the vacations that my parents took my brother and I on. The memories that linger are worth far more than the cost of the hotel rooms. A friend of mine once said that her son didn’t take his family (with children) on many trips because you wouldn’t have anything in return for the money once you returned. I beg to differ in a huge way. xoxo

  2. Travel, be it across the state or across the world, is so important and I’m often disappointed more people don’t do it.

    We travel for our own enrichment and my husband travels for work.

    A few years ago we went to Prague where you just never know what language someone will speak to you in. It was there, while having coffee in Old Town Square that I saw a mother and her young son. The boy had an ice cream cone and was wearing a white sweater. The mother was talking to him but I couldn’t understand her language, not that I needed to, I knew EXACTLY what she was saying to him.

    Those are the moments that remind me, we are all the same, regardless of what part of the world we’re from. We all want the same things. Everyone wants to be happy, enjoy their life and raise their children to be happy adults. And of course not to get ice cream on their white sweater;)

    What is it about Fall that makes us all think about Travel anyways?


  3. Wonderful post!! I loved to travel! and with each day that passes the stronger I become the more O lok forward to many more travels far away.. the furthest I have been post accident is Paris … and I really can’t wait to return there… Prior to accident the furthest I had travel was to Asia (Hong Kong, Thailand, Macau) … HHL

  4. So very true, Shannon. I absolutely feel that way. I don’t understand how people can go years without taking a vacation. I constantly have the travel bug and if I’m not just getting back from some trip, I’ve definitely made arrangements for the next one that will take place in the not so far future. It’s good for the soul to expand your experiences.

    Hope you have a wonderful start of the week 🙂

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