Why Travel?

Why Travel?

December 22, 2010

As I read headlines of troubles around the world, I am reminded of why I am a travel agent.  I love to travel, so it’s logical that I would choose to help others plan their journeys.  But it goes much deeper than that.  I believe that travel can save the world.

When you travel, that which was once foreign and strange becomes familiar.  People in another country are no longer a faceless “them” – they are the owners of the little hotel who brought you tea when you were sick, the porter on the train who worried about whether you would be safe, the women in the market who you joked around with.  They are humans with lives and stories.  And once you see them as people, instead of some faceless “them”, hate falls away.

It doesn’t matter what country you go to.  The act of leaving, of going somewhere different, opens the mind.  Just walking the street hearing the rhythm of a new language flowing around you, smelling the smells of a new place, wakes you up and reminds you that there are many ways of being.  Ours is only one of many possible ways of life.

Travel to a third world country puts things into perspective.  After seeing people with no clean water and nothing to eat, my house (tiny by US standards) seems like a palace.  By world standards, any of us with a computer and electricity (so anyone reading this) is incredibly wealthy.  The mindless pursuit of a bigger house or a fancier car, when there are children without shoes or adequate clothes, seems obscene.

Travel to a modern city can be just as eye-opening.  You go to Buenos Aires and find that there are sophisticated restaurants, nightclubs, and a whole arts scene, far removed from New York or Los Angeles.  The US is not the be-all and end-all of the world.  The world abounds with ideas, music, painting, literature, and we in the US only see a tiny sliver of it.  When you go somewhere else, you discover all kinds of things that you never knew existed.  Coming home after experiencing incredible new work, you find your own creations altered and your creativity revitalized.

Travel is about seeing, learning, and appreciating the Earth and the many amazing people, cultures, ecosystems  and animals that are part of it.  We read about the tropical rainforest, but after experiencing it’s dizzying lush heat, the dense green wall of plants, the swirling bugs and flashing tropical birds, you understand in a fundamental way that this place matters, and it is important to the whole human race to preserve it.

We all share this earth.  Travel connects us.  It helps us understand that we are all part of the human race, and all residents of the same beautiful blue planet.  That is why I believe travel can save the world.

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year, from Exito Travel

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