The Wonders of Travel from an Aspiring Journalist
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.
– Mark Twain
Unlike quotes that simply tell you to move, or to travel, or not to waste your life, this quote is more understated, but in turn, more impacting.
For me, it brought to light the significant problems that we face as a ‘civilised’ society. So many of us, particularly those in the older generations (from personal experience), seem to be indoctrinated with certain stereotypical views and prejudices – all of which contribute to said ‘narrow-mindedness’.
However, as Twain recognises; to travel is to erase this mindset. You could say that travel is a remedy to this dogmatic mentality that so many people (who are blissfully unaware) have. Travelling exposes what it truly means to ‘think on your feet’ and to live outside of your comfort zone.
Those who truly challenge themselves, whether that may be waking up in a tent without your morning coffee or trekking up the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, are allowing themselves to open up their minds to things that they would have never thought possible. For example, the adverts on television – famine, illness, poverty, death. We are shown such tragic images so frequently that we become hardened to them, and they become less impacting than they were when we first viewed them. So, reporters are constantly seeking even more disastrous and heart-wrenching images and stories. However, if one was to view this in reality, not just on Children In Need or in a charity leaflet, one may come to terms with the fact that this is really happening, and maybe even ask themselves, what can I do to help?
Now, this may be giving money to charity, or just becoming more grateful for what incredible, luxurious lives we have in our home; and in our ‘comfort zones’. The same can be said anywhere. You don’t have to travel thousands of miles to see this kind of suffering. Walk round London for a few hours and you will see the devastating effects poverty, substance-abuse and malnutrition (to name a few) have on people. For me, seeing homeless people in London is even more distressing when you think,
‘What sets me aside from these people? Why have I not suffered the same fate as them? How do we chose the path of our life? Are we presented with opportunities or do we decide them?’ It is here that I remember to rid myself of prejudices and of narrow-minded greed, and to try to understand as much about the diversity of planet earth as I can.
To travel, properly, is to immerse yourself in a foreign land. A land where your customs, your mannerisms, your ‘code of conduct’ so to speak is no longer necessary, and no longer means a thing. All these polite customs we carry out on a daily basis are irrelevant when communicating to those in other areas of the world. I believe that it is at this point, at the point when one truly abandons all they have come to know, they truly see the world for what it is – a place where nothing is the same, no one is the same, and nothing will ever remain the same again, and that the one human purpose is to accept, protect and respect everything that we encounter.