Be Curious, Learn Often, Travel Widely

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” -Mark Twain

Mark Twain hit the nail on the head here. I don’t think it is possible for someone to travel and open themselves up to new ways of life and experiences to continue to have a narrow view on life. You don’t have to travel far to expand your views either, you can travel to the neighboring town or state and encounter people that have an entirely different perspective on life than you. To embrace these differences is to welcome people and acceptance into your mindset. Be curious, ask if you are unsure of something, and do it in a curious way not an accusatory way. If people believe you are genuinely curious in them they are more likely to open up to you and share with you their life experiences. Be forewarned though, once you start actively listening to people (active listening: making a conscious effort to understand what someone is saying) you will start to care about them and you will see them as people not just another face in the crowd.

I have been blessed with many opportunities to travel in my life and it has showed me the many faces of not only the United States, but the faces of many parts of the world. It has showed me that being curious and learning never stop. Learn to ask questions whenever something doesn’t seem clear or right (morally, ethically, or factually). There is never a dumb question, trust me I am the one in the group always asking questions and I definitely get flak for it, but I am not deterred. It is important to me that I not only understand how something works, but why the work is done and to acknowledge those that do the work daily. Travel has also instilled in me a love for our natural world and has opened my eyes to the respect it deserves. We must remember we only have one world, we cannot take it for granted.

We are all here on this Earth trying to live a life that leaves a mark, we all strive to do something that we will be remembered for and hopefully will leave the world better than when we entered it. Acknowledging the work people do or the people themselves helps each of us feel like we matter in this world, even if it is only to the person we are talking to. Stay curious in nature (get outside!), in the world around you (take a moment to watch animals in their natural habitat), and acknowledge your fellow humans (say hello to someone you normally wouldn’t).

 

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