Travelers are like double-sided mirrors who reflect upon the people they meet and the people they know back home. Traveling gives you a unique perspective about the world and its varied cultures in a way that no amount of schooling, reading, or other media can teach you.
Gaining perspective on the rest of the world is important, but what’s more important for Americans is to give others perspective about the traveler, and ultimately the United States.
I’ve found that the world has as many misconceptions about Americans as Americans do about them. People who haven’t traveled are similar all across the world and exaggerate cultural traits into stereotypes.
Traveling will also help Americans bring back something else that can easily be taken for granted, as mom notes.
[Americans should travel more] to learn more about other cultures to understand Americans with different backgrounds better. This will make them appreciate the blend in this country.
Americans will find that many countries, even in western Europe, don’t have the relative harmony between cultures in the US. Nomadic Matt’s post on why Americans don’t travel overseas is a great read and I’ve expressed my take on why they should.
[photo by: S.Su]