For the past few months I have traveled very little. Life has shifted to where my kids are set into sports, and art schools, and other activities that they enjoy beyond our frequent trips here and there.
I’ve also been working a lot, which is necessary as we plan for a few big trips next year.
But during this time, I’ve gotten to spend much of it with other people who don’t really travel much, for work or fun. What it has confirmed for me is how much travel influences a person. Now, I don’t say this from a place of arrogance at all, but with a perspective of what it is to approach the world, your everyday life, with a deeper sense and understanding for things outside of it.
Travel feels like that time I went to Fiji, a land so far away from my own, but they all thought I was their sister and treated me like I had come home.
I have met people who cannot wrap their minds around ideas or viewpoints outside of their own. Who don’t understand how an outsider might perceive their world or their communities differently than how they have accepted things to be. Oh, these are the most infuriating and frustrating of people.
I have met people in social circles who can’t grasp how certain actions or words or comments are received by someone with different experiences or backgrounds from their own.
Travel is what allowed me to ignore warnings, and gave me the curiosity to cross borders and find my story in Palestine, not what I hear from others.
Being grounded has reminded me that when you don’t travel, even if just outside your community, you miss out on the opportunity to see things in a way that you just might not be able to see otherwise. You aren’t challenged in what you think is right, or the norm. You stand firm in the belief that because this is how you do it, that it is just how it is done. You question nothing, unless that something goes against what you affirm to be truth. I have met people, successful, intelligent people who seem to always hit a wall in their overall potential and ability to think outside the box, be creative, problem solve, or even relate positively with outsiders or those who offer different perspectives. I have seen people who, as my abuela used to say, will drown in a glass of water unaware of what difficulty truly is. Meanwhile, the vast oceans remain undiscovered to them.
Not traveling keeps you blind to so much and no amount of education alone can open your eyes in a way that travel does.
Travel is how I can get past the insecurities of language barriers and find peace in the beauty of what was before me in rural Thailand.
Granted, there are those who take a trip and come back just as close-minded as when they left. I can often tell you exactly what kind of a sheltered vacation they had based on their complete lack of impact from it.
But still, my not traveling as much has reaffirmed that value and importance of traveling not just for my own personal growth and awareness, but also for that of my children. It would be easy to think that all the activities they are taking part in here at home would be enough to broaden their minds, but the truth is, we stay in a bubble of our own privilege and comforts and reality. Travel is the one thing that has pushed us all to see past the stereotypes, to question what we read in books or see on TV, to question authority, or at the very least what we are told is the authority on any issue.
Having lived overseas for half my life enriched me with insights that I have been able to carry with me everywhere, from the boardroom to the stage to relationships. This isn’t a gift I have been able to give my children yet, and so we travel and I hope that they are wiser, kinder, more insightful, more creative, more open, more curious, and happier for it.
Travel has informed me, like about the large Basque community that lives in Southern France. You think you know, than you realize you know so little.
I have always said, I don’t think that it is necessary to spend a lot of money or travel overseas – though, it’s a nice goal to have – to immerse yourself in different cultural experiences and expose yourself to diverse ideologies and viewpoints. Every country I have ever visited has areas that are different from one another. No two towns or cities are the same, whether in the states or abroad.
My saying that travel does make a difference isn’t something that you will completely understand until you do it. I believe in the power of travel so deeply that I see the importance in being an advocate of the same. Travel has influenced me as a person, as a thinker, and I have seen its influence on my family and on friends who make travel a part of their lives too.
Travel has made me a less selfish person and better mom, one who wants her children to be brave and curious and giving and kind and adventurous too.
So, as the summer months approach us I hope you have the ability and time to take a trip. Whether a road trip to a different state, or a weekend escape to another town, or a plane ride somewhere new. I hope you get a chance to experience this difference that I am talking about. If so, come back here and let me know! I always love to hear about other people’s adventure and the new things they learned along the way.
May you travel happy and safely.