“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, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It
Having been bitten by the travel bug early in life, I have taken just about every opportunity that came my way to spend time in a place foreign to me. At times the destination was distant and exotic, while at others it was some place I had never been just up the road. Regardless of the port of call, I found each trip I was fortunate to take to be enriching, even if challenging or uncomfortable.
Spending time out of the familiar – even if it is an afternoon or a weekend – can wreak havoc on your prejudices, superstitions, and stereotypes in a way that reading about it, watching it on TV or in the cinema, or living vicariously through the travelogues of others cannot. In most cases, doing so expands your capacity for empathy and other “…kindly instincts that nature put in…” (Mark Twain, Letter to San Francisco Alta California, dated May 18th, 1867; published June 23, 1867).
Travel – real “foot on the ground” travel – is the best way to learn about mankind’s many faces and the world’s many marvelous places. So push yourself, dare to experience the world firsthand, and I can assure you that you will learn many things about others, but equally as importantl, about yourself.