Travellers come from all walks of life from all corners of the Earth (if it is possible to have a corner on a round planet…) but they have one thing in common – they want to see something different. If they didn’t, why would they leave home? Whether they are fed up with their lives back home or they want to see what else is out there, taking a holiday to a different place not only makes you more aware of the world around you but makes the world a better place.
Which is why it’s so important to keep an open mind when you travel. When you are away from home, you are likely to see and hear things that are very different than what you are accustomed to – perhaps even shocking. You may run into people who greatly conflict with your worldview and you may be tempted to write them off because of some comment they make or their physical appearance, but resist the urge to judge, as you may have more in common than you think.
Simply put, keep an open mind when you travel and you just might make some world-class friends that you will stay in touch with long after you return home. In turn, this can make you feel connected to the place that person is from and sympathize with their people if they are mentioned in the news or by others. We all do it – you can’t really help it. It may appear a bit selfish, only caring about a place or its people once it has some tie to you, but it’s these connections that help unite people of the world and make the world feel like a community rather than a bunch of individuals.
Keeping an open mind is required for planning a vacation as well, from the things you decide to see to the destination you choose and the types of accommodation you select. If you’re on a budget and have to stay in one of those 30 person hostel dorm rooms, don’t look at it as an inconvenience but as a chance to bond with the people you may be bunking with. Our tendency is not to trust strangers, and while you shouldn’t be completely gullible or naïve, looking for the best in people and showing them respect can go a long way towards your own and your country’s reputation. If you scoff at the notion of staying in a hostel, consider giving it a try – they’re a lot of fun, affordable and can put you in touch with a lot of future friends.
If you try different things than you normally do you may open yourself up to new experiences and new people than you may have thought worked for you in your back-home life. You might find yourself on a tour group or having dinner in a restaurant with people from your home country, brought together by some common experience. Don’t avoid them because you ‘are on vacation’, but try to connect and show that even if you are far away from home you can still share a bond.
Opening yourself up to what the world has to offer will ensure you will learn something about yourself and about your surroundings, in turn making you a better person. At the same time, being open to others and not being afraid to strike up conversation and take a genuine interest in the thoughts and opinions of others while travelling can do the very same thing. It doesn’t matter if back home you may not have kind words or thoughts about a certain country, when you’re out on the open road, we’re all citizens of the same community.