Most stories we have heard as a child originated from ancient travellers who travelled far and wide in turbulent times. Travellers consistently brought curios and gripping tales of hinterlands where beasts and humans have lives so different yet so similar to us. Knowing other cultures have always invoked a sort of curiosity and fear within us – yet we all acknowledge that travel brings in the much needed exposure to make each of us a well-rounded person.
Travel in itself doesn’t make anyone well rounded. It is equivalent to conclude that a person who attends school is educated. School is an interface which provides us with systematic information. It is our duty to make the most out of the materials available to us. Traveling additionally provides us with opportunities to discover culture, gastronomy, tradition, geography and history along with discovering ourselves.
Making the most of these opportunities is the key in opening our minds. At home, we are exposed to the same set of people with similar ideas and values. Interacting with the same people results in compounding our own beliefs over time because we are not confronted with a need to challenge our beliefs. This slowly solidifies our comfort zone shortening it as we grow older. The need over here is to expand our comfort zones by embracing ideas which are so different from our beliefs so as to expand the experiences we have. Traveling gives us an opportunity to welcome such diverse ideas and perspectives as an outsider. Here, the impact of a mistake is not profound, after all, we are outsiders when we travel out of our home.
Travel with an intention to discover other people, culture and life outside of our own comfort zone. It is not in order to validate that our culture is more superior nor to implant our comfort zones in these unfamiliar places. This effort and intention matters more in facilitating our personal development. When we talk about culture, we should be cautious not to misinterpret the term. This term should not be substituted for religion, worst not for principles. The moment culture becomes one’s principle, one loses one’s own values accumulated through experiences. One’s values become that of the society’s. In this manner, one ends up becoming a prey to the society’s whims and fancies without having a foundation to crash upon when internal conflicts kick in. One can imagine becoming a twig floating on waters not knowing where the current would take. Hence, possessing an identity through one’s own values is important to acknowledge and appreciate culture belonging to oneself or others. It helps as an anchor to one’s own thoughts, values and priorities without being drifted away in times of confusion which is exceedingly common in a seeker of meaning in one’s own life.
Travelling is an excellent process of transforming knowledge into experience which can in turn help inculcate a progressive mindset.