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The Importance of Travel in Today’s World
We live in a world of uncertainty these days.
Over the past 12 months, strings of terrorism attacks have hit some of the most stable parts of the world. First it was Paris, then Brussels and more recently Istanbul.
Each attack was worse than the other, and each one hit home more than the other. Many lives have been lost and the tourism industry has suffered tremendously worldwide as a result of fear.
More recently, the results of the elections shook the US — and the world. Trump’s win in the presidential elections has already created a ripple of fear, out-roar, anguish and worst of all, hate crimes.
For those of us who are not Americans, we can only watch from the outside and fear for the future. Trump’s presidency will most likely spread more fear, division and conflicts. Sadly, travel might just get more controlled with his new anti-immigration policies. This at a time when the importance of travel is ever-greater.
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
An Antidote Against Terrorism
To fight against terrorism and fear, it is more important now than ever to travel.
I believe that travel expands our minds, broadens our perspectives, and teaches us tolerance to cultures and mentalities that are different from our own. More importantly, travel opens our hearts and makes us more humane and compassionate towards others.
When we travel ― especially across borders ― we see that people are fundamentally the same, despite differences in culture, religion or belief. No matter what happens between countries and governments, people are people. We are all searching for the same things: a better life, a better future for their children and more purpose.
Finding Positivity and Hope
Amidst all the negativity surrounding the world these days, we need to find more positivity and hope in our lives. And travel lets you do just that. Travel spreads love and shows us the goodness in people.
I’ve lost count of the number of encounters I’ve had with people who have touched my heart. Because of this, the importance of travel to me has always been incredibly clear.
Like that time when I lost my wallet in Tirana, Albania and a young man helped me out by lending me some money and making sure I got home safely.
Or the other time when I couldn’t find my way out of the maze-like old town of Yadz in Iran, and a middle-aged man kindly gave me a free lift and even invited me to have tea with his wife in their home.
And another time when I fell sick while biking around Bagan, Myanmar, and a kind lady who was selling drinks on the streets ushered me straight into her stall and nursed me for hours.
Albania, Iran and Myanmar are all places that many consider “dangerous”, and yet the people I met there are some of the kindest souls. What we read on the news are just that — the news — while individual stories are what we really need to hear, and yet they remain untold.
I cannot stress how different the stories on the ground can be to what we see on TV or in the newspapers. I recently traveled to Brussels and Istanbul just a few months after the terrorist attacks. And as I expected, everything actually had returned to normal, besides the few additional security measures.
Once again, it goes to show that reality is different from what the media feeds us. So get out there and see for yourself. The world really isn’t such a scary place.
The importance of travel is still great
In times of distress like these, we need travel.
We need more love and positivity in this world. We need to unite and stay together, because we are always more powerful as a unit. There’s a need for us to choose good over evil. We need to believe in others and see the beauty in people and the world once again.
If we stop traveling, we stop flourishing. We stop accepting people who are different to us and we stop connecting with the world. And that’s exactly what the terrorists (and dare I say, Trump) want.
Let’s break down borders and build bridges that connect all of us — because together, we can fight fear by traveling.