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The Importance of Travel

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Here at Informed Explorer, we think the importance of travel is vastly underestimated. So we decided to write an article explaining why we think that travel is not only fun, enjoyable and entertaining, but also completely necessary for the whole of man/womankind.

Travel, to me, is everything. No matter the size of a trip or where it takes place, as long as we open our eyes and minds, it’s pretty likely that we are going to learn something completely new. For me, it is the only way we can truly see things for what they are, and consequently the only way we can truly understand the world for what it is.

In the famous words of the genius that was Mark Twain:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

And it is true. Actually seeing something and experiencing something for real completely eclipses anything someone may have told you in the past – be it positive or negative. It allows us to ignore the stereotypes we have all inevitably generated throughout our lives, and to instead speak, sit, and empathize with the people that the stereotypes were about. To put it simply, travel makes it hard to have stereotypes. Stereotypes are a consequence of ignorance and closed mindedness, and when you are traveling it is often so hard to ignore things, that you have to instead see them for what they are.

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley

Exploring a new place allows us to comprehend why certain peoples do certain things in specific ways, and to realize that those very people you once thought weird, probably think you are about 60 times as weird. It gives us a sense of perspective and significance. We are not the center of the universe, the world will go on without us, and it does, everyday, in all the places you visit. But quite often we realise the situation we are in is a lot better than we thought it was. It gives us confidence, showing us that most people aren’t evil.  Helping us to realise there is a lot we can do and achieve in our lives, irrespective of where we currently are and what we are doing.

As goes the infamous Moorish proverb:

He who does not travel does not know the value of men.”

And once again, I really could not agree with this more. This is not an out-and-out attack on those who do not travel, because the truth is, most people would love to travel and are only prevented from exploring and understanding the world due to monetary and commitment issues. But those who actively choose not to travel, instead choosing to base their perceptions of the world on fragmented, inaccurate stories and experiences given to them by others, are naive at best. For me, traveling goes hand in hand with success. You learn things you could never learn at home, whilst also experiencing the freedom I can only imagine humans experienced back in the hunter-gatherer days, walking naked through completely undiscovered territory. Basically, travel teaches and inspires us, whilst constantly surprising and taking us out of our comfort zones.

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G. K. Chesterton

I am willing to bet, at this moment I am unaware of any actual study (correct me if I am wrong), that there is a negative correlation between how prejudice/unintelligent a person is, and how much they enjoy traveling. Imagine you spend your whole life staying in the same place, listening to the same one-dimensional views from the another group of people who have stayed in the same place their whole life, can you really expect to understand other cultures and peoples? You wouldn’t take IT advice from somebody who couldn’t use a computer, so why would you take advice on the world from somebody who had not seen the world?

Travel is only glamorous in retrospect.”

But, despite all the fun, unforgettable moments and exciting times, travel is not always amazing. It is also not always expected. Yet, I believe it is always educational and memorable. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. Not to take things at face value, and to delve deeper into anything and everything we come across so we can truly take it in. It tells us not to be naive but that sometimes it is okay to use a bit of initiative and to go off on a whim to trust a complete stranger. To put it simply once more, travel changes us, and it is nearly always for the better.

Let us know what you think below, and for more inspiration travel quotes visit our post, “Inspirational Travel Quotes“.

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  • tommskdas

    Travel broadens the minds, as they say. Very true.

  • Rachel Oliver

    I wholeheartedly agree
    with the essence of this article. When I travel I prefer the person I become –
    immediately more open and inclined to strike up conversations with strangers.
    Those conversations can become the most memorable, heart-warming and life-changing
    experiences. I feel a desire to learn about the people and places around me and
    that can only be a positive indication for a more peaceful world. I know
    stereotyping is ugly and undesirable, but I do think it is natural and – when
    harmless – enjoyable to spot the occasional general characteristics of
    different peoples and cultures, and absolutely including my own.

  • http://twitter.com/InformedXplorer/status/391996721959411712/ @InformedXplorer

    Take a look at why @BenjaminZand thinks #travel is so important. Do you agree with him? http://t.co/TWCepE7oqU #ExploreMore #TTOT

  • http://twitter.com/InformedXplorer/status/412200479716683776/ Informed Explorer (@InformedXplorer)

    ‘Travel changes us, and it is nearly always for the better’ – The Importance of Travel by @BenjaminZand: http://t.co/TWCepE7oqU #ExploreMore

  • http://twitter.com/InformedXplorer/status/456456030616961024/ Informed Explorer (@InformedXplorer)

    Why is #travel so important? Here’s why we think: http://t.co/aw82jRKMQs #ExploreMore #TTOT

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