For me, one of the greatest joys in life is traveling. Thankfully, I’ve had the opportunity to travel extensively relative to my age. I’ve been to numerous countries across three continents, and, as a result of these trips, I’ve come to realize the immeasurable value of travel.
Yes, traveling offers enjoyment by way of incredible sights and memorable moments. It can even introduce you to new foods, forms of entertainment, and languages. But it does something far more crucial and beneficial: it helps to broaden your perspective and hone your worldview.
By interacting with people and immersing yourself in cultures, you begin to open yourself up to viewpoints that you had previously dismissed or weren’t even aware of. You come to realize that many cultures have the propensity to exhibit attributes and uphold beliefs that are radically different from those that you’re accustomed to. You learn about the historical epochs and events that have helped shaped seemingly atypical sociopolitical systems. You take note of the various dynamics at play, such as religion, power, poverty and social conflict. These experiences offer you the opportunity to entertain and even embrace what very well may be an ideology that’s diametrically opposed to your own.
All of these attributes and beliefs can in turn challenge and stimulate you intellectually. Probably even more importantly, this information can provide context for the emergence and application of certain cultural traditions and beliefs.
In the aggregate, these experiences culminate in the transformation of your worldview. Once you’re exposed to these new orientations, you no longer examine the world merely from the perspective of your own bubble. You begin to consider the vast, global implications of particular political or economic decisions—no matter how minute or insignificant they may appear at the time.
Now, obviously embedded in this notion of refining one’s worldview through travel is the assumption that we all go into our trips with as much of an open and unbiased mindset as possible. As I mentioned previously, we all travel for different reasons. For some it’s purely for enjoyment or relaxation. For others, it may just be for work. While your original intentions for traveling may not mimic those I’ve outlined above, you’re doing yourself a great disservice if you’re merely taking advantage of the ephemeral aspects and ignoring the rest.
Don’t disregard traveling’s ability to educate and enlighten. Embrace and cherish these opportunities, and start traveling with an eye towards increased knowledge and self-improvement.