Given that not much travel has happened lately (my heart breaks a little every day), I was reminiscing about all the trips I’ve had and all the people I’ve met and taking stock of how lucky I’ve been to be exposed to so many different ways of life, not to mention the memories made with all my travelling companions.
There is something that bugs me just a little and it’s this idea that you have to travel around the world or live in different cities to be open minded. This notion that the more you’re exposed to, the more human you’ll be. Maybe it was after having met a number of people who had travelled the world, lived on so many different continents and having discovered their closed-minded way of thinking that I reflected so heavily on how untrue the idea that travelling makes you more human is.
Travelling doesn’t change who you are.
It just brings out more of who you really are.
What makes me say this?
- If you’re the type of person who travels and then judges people based on their differences, or focuses on only the negative appearances of a place; or on how strange the customs are without asking why things are done a certain way, you’re not experiencing anything. You’re rejecting your opportunity to learn something new. Can we honestly call this being open-minded?
- If you’re the type of person who sees everything right with where you currently live and everything wrong with where you used to live; or if you are the type of person who, in order to appreciate where you currently stay, needs to only point out the negative aspects of the place you came from, maybe it’s time to take a deeper look within. Every place has positive and negative traits (like humans) and the experiences and memories made in each place shapes who you are. If you reject where you come from or where you lived at some stage, you’re essentially rejecting elements of who you are.
- If you’re the type of person who criticises someone for staying in one place their whole lives but travels, and you say to this person, “It’s not the same thing because you don’t fully experience the country.” Reserve your judgment for someone who cares. I’ve met many people who are not open to changing or adapting and they move from country to country without experiencing anything at all. They stick to what they know and maybe out of fear, they cannot change, adapt or embrace where they’re at. They aren’t grounded in who they are and the fact that you are, triggers them.
- If you’re the type of person who travels and lives in the moment while on a trip so you can embrace all of your experiences, you’re my person. What’s that wonderful new thing I see? No idea, let’s go explore it!
Be sure and clear on the reasons you want to travel the world. There are cultures, rituals, habits and customs out there that you may have been brought up to judge with no reason other than, “It’s not what we do”. If you’re unprepared on being open to a new experience or to question further, you may discover parts of yourself you’re not happy with and that may scare you, just a little.
I love witnessing and experiencing almost everything when I’m in a new place and those who have travelled with me know how much I love to face my fears or use my favourite line, “But what if we don’t come back here, when will I get to hold a bat again?” I travel to learn about others and about myself. I travel to push my limits and boundaries of my thinking and I end up making incredible memories. Ultimately one of my favourite parts of travelling is coming home and feeling how much I missed those normally around me.
Travelling doesn’t make you open-minded if you’re not already open-minded. It doesn’t change who you are if you’re not open to change to begin with and if you’re close minded, then all it will do is prove you right on whatever close minded point you were trying to make.
But the biggest influence from travelling?
It more than anything helps you discover who you are.