Whether it’s around your country or to a different one, for working or for pleasure, for a short or a protracted stay, travelling is always an exciting experience. You pack your things and take your car, your train, your flight or just by your feet, together with your expectations and also your fears, and you leave. It doesn’t matter if these expectations will be satisfied, perhaps even exceeded, or not; you will always learn something new about the world and yourself.
Indeed, it would sound definitely like a paradox, however, when travelling and going further you get closer to your real self. What makes of this paradox one of the biggest sources of self-discovery? A great part of our identity is inevitably shaped by the society in which we grew up; our cultural, political, geographical, historical background determines our values; and this background is such rooted is us that it is even difficult to be aware of it. Travelling connects you with other people, and the people you meet is what can make the real difference in a travel. All coming from different cultures, we all face the same matter: discovering our real identity, whose great chunk was just given to us.
If you think about it, you will feel closer and more empathetic to other people. Besides, if you try to understand people’s habits and traditions, their personal and national struggles, their cultural values, once you will look behind at your starting point, you will be more conscious of what are the strengths and weaknesses of your own society, what is contradictory and what you should be proud of; you will, finally, discover or rediscover you who really are. You will be able to decide what type of person you want to be, what really matters to you, which values you want to be yours. Thanks to the baggage of experiences you have been building up, a more tolerant personality will emerge, a more broad-minded, more sensitive one.
Travelling is what makes the pedestal from which you see and judge things wobbling. Travelling challenges your personality as a whole but, at the same time, it offers an everlasting mine of knowledge and emotions, so you can shape the person you want to be. This mine is full of benefits: you will probably appreciate more nature, and be interested in environmental issues; you can learn new languages and through languages different ways of communication which reflect, in turn, different perspectives towards issues and the world in general. When finding yourself plunged into a different culture you will try to understand it and, by doing so, you will tend to accept or, at least, to comprehend, those aspects that were unknown for you before. Once you have been in close contact with another country you will be more likely to get rid of the fear of diversity and to embrace that country’s struggles as if it were your homeland.
Trying to understand people’s background and life experiences is the only way in which you can really be engaged with contemporary issues all around the world. Looking with your eyes is the only way to actually get involved in global issues and so to become a citizen of the world. Probably you won’t make the world a better place nor make wars come to an end, but you will certainly be more aware of the reality and will bear to keep your eyes closed no longer. Let’s travel and see what really happens all around the worlds, which are people’s everyday fights and dreams…Let’s open up our minds!
Image Credit: Chill Insurance