This post is written by Tam Warner Minton of the super awesome blog: TravelswithTam
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” Terry Pratchett
Yesterday I wanted to meet a friend for lunch, but my car was in the shop. I called Uber and was quickly picked up by a friendly and delightful driver from Guinea, Africa. We began to talk about Guinea’s location, and he was overjoyed when he discovered that I had actually traveled to Africa and visited several countries there. A story emerged which highlighted, perfectly, why we should all travel. The driver worked on the morning of his daughter’s wedding, and he drove that day in the suit he was going to wear at the event. One of his clients asked him who it was that taught him how to put on a suit. You have to admit, that is a rather odd question. (The inference being, of course, that someone “civilized” had to have explained to him how to wear a suit). The driver, who speaks clear English and has been in the USA for almost 30 years, admitted he was very angry about it. People in America, he said, do not travel often enough, and have no idea about the cultures of other places. I agreed.
Since my discussion with him, I have done a little research, and yes, it is true that the vast majority of Americans have never traveled out of the country. I have had people tell me they are not interested in going to other places because America is the “best”. I’m not going to argue about patriotism, but my question is, how do you know? If you have never been to another country, how can you know what is “best”? And does everything have to be rated as good, better and best? Can’t it just be different? I realize that not everyone wants to travel, but there is no question that it provides invaluable experiences and insight to the traveler and to the people the traveler knows or meets. “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” I agree, St Augustine, I agree.