One of the major draws to traveling is meeting people from different parts of the world and understanding different cultures. Traveling has a huge impact on how you see the world, which I know is a cliche.
Imagine trying to explain “red” to someone who is color blind. You can give them a good idea that they will be able to intellectually understand, but its not the same as experiencing “red.”
That is what traveling is like. I can explain Europe or Latin America, but it won’t ever be the same as someone traveling there. I can travel to Europe or Latin America, but if I don’t experience the local life, I’m still seeing the place without any red.
Luckily for us we play a sport called Ultimate Frisbee that gives us an “in” to locals when we travel. Which is certainly an easier way to meet locals than any other we’ve tried.
One time Jeff and I bought a guy a drink in a bar in a bar in Austria to try and meet a local person. It was successful in that we talked to him for a few hours, but in the end took a creepy turn when he was confused about why we weren’t going back to his apartment with him.
Meeting people from different countries has shown me that the vast majority of people in the world are not trying to steal from you or want to harm you. The majority of people realize that Americans are not horrible Cheetos. In my experience, the USA is more like that high-school-level-mature person who vehemently doesn’t like someone just because of something they heard about them.
I know that Russians are the loyalist people I’ve ever met. Muslims are the most likely to give you the shirt off their backs. Most “undeveloped” countries have a better health and education infrastructure than the United States. Most other “developed” countries are way over caring what a woman does with her body or who someone is sleeping with. It’s not their business.
And I would of learned none of this without traveling.