It is often said that travel can be a transformative experience. That the things you learn while traveling will change you. However, we often talk about it in general terms without giving much thought to how it actually has changed us. So, I want to know, what is the most important lesson that travel has taught you?
For me, I think that travel has taught me perspective.
When you live in the bubble of a country, you often take for granted your way of life and how your life can affect others around the world. However, when you get out of your comfort zone and travel outside your country, you can really get a glimpse of the lives of others.
It’s sort of like growing up with your family. When you’re a kid, you often just accept that the way your family does things is the right way. However, as you get older and you start to see the lives of your friends and significant others, you start to realize that maybe your family isn’t quite as “normal” as you thought. Even in the most well-adjusted family, there are still things that you did that others will find strange, and vice versa.
It’s also interesting to gain perspective on how the actions of one country can affect people halfway around the world, both positively and negatively. As an American, I was heartbroken to hear about the US bombs that still explode regularly in Laos, but encouraged to see the many clean water projects in Cambodia.
Traveling can also teach you that the perspective you’re fed through the media isn’t necessarily true. For example, when I was living in South Korea, many friends and family were worried for my safety because American news made it seem like the peninsula was on the brink of war. However, in Korea, no one was the least bit worried that things might become bad.
So, while I’ve learned many things during my travels, I think that perspective has been the biggest and most important lesson, one that has impacted many aspects of my life.
But what about you? What is the biggest lesson that travel has taught you? Let me know in the comments section below!