"Ideally, travel broadens our perspectives personally,
culturally, and politically. Suddenly the palate with which we paint our lives
has more colors. We realize there are exciting alternatives to the social and
community norms that our less traveled neighbors may never consider…but you can
only reap these rewards if you’re open to them….Make a decision that on any
trip you take, you’ll make a point to be open to new experiences, seek options
that get you out of your comfort zone, and be a cultural chameleon-- trying on
new ways of looking at things and striving to become a 'temporary local.'”(emphasis mine)
I confess, Rick Steeves' guidebooks aren't usually my guidebooks of choice. When traveling I tend to favor Lonely Planet and Rough Guides. (This probably has much to do with the fact that most of our travel has been in developing countries while most of Steeves' travel has been in Europe).
But this book beckoned to me from its "faced out" perch in our library. With a title like that, I had to check it out. What did I learn? Despite our very different travel preferences, Rick Steeves and I have come away with similar beliefs.
Here's another quotation from page 161:
"I’m convinced that people-to-people travel
experiences can be a powerful force for peace."
Indeed. Once I have a personal connection to a place, I care more deeply about its citizens. And that care extends to people who know me and know of my travels. Many of my students would come to me after seeing news of a capsized ferry in the Philippines or a change in the President of Peru. Once they heard of my travels there, they consumed the news differently. They cared about people they never even met. But they knew me and I knew people there.
And this quotation from page 5:
"Travel challenges truths we were raised thinking were
self-evident and God-given. Leaving home, we learn other people find different
truths to be self-evident. We realize that it just makes sense to give everyone
a little wiggle room."
This, I find, can be one of the hardest points to make understood to non-travelers. We don't have a monopoly on what's right or just or good. We have our way. Other cultures have their own ways. A little respect for those differences goes a long way.
Do these quotations ring true you? Do you have a favorite travel quotation?