Why you should leave your country, at least once…
To gain perspective.
I sit on a flight returning from another out-of-country experience and realize that foreign travel is not only exciting and amazing (and tricky, at times), but it offers a perspective unlike any other. Cultures are different. Languages are different. Food is different. Life, in general, is different.
Spending time away from life as we know it can break the cycle of our everyday ruts. Something as simple as making coffee in the morning may turn into a complicated task in another country. You learn to appreciate something as simple as having power, coffee, clean water, filters and a mug. The realization may come that drinking coffee, a habit you may do every day, is just not a common tradition in other countries. It’s not a priority. It’s not a big deal. And in some cases, it’s actually a privilege.
A grocery store in your own country may be completely different than one in another country, another climate or another social class. Life, is just different in other places. Cars, laws, electricity, heat, air-conditioning, resources, appliances, daily processes and nearly everything is different. Social etiquette is foreign and perspective is gained in the learning process.
You should experience that at least once in your life, if you have the opportunity.
Immersion in other cultures offers an opportunity to study local people, signs, and cultural “isms”. When I return to my own country, it’s easier to take notice of those things instead of ignoring them and falling into the same rut.
I’ve waited in the immigration line only to be joined by foreigners at the security line. This is the first impression many have of our country – the hustle, the security laws, the travel, the airport, the language, the people. It can be overwhelming and frightening. After a week in another culture and country, I too, feel overwhelmed coming back across the border. The world is just moving too fast.
You Have Perspective – So What?
A glimpse into another world may make you aware of things in your own life you could see or do differently. For me, the realization is usually summarized as with the following:
- Appreciation. There are so many things to be thankful for, if you just look.
- Dreams. Where do our dreams go from childhood to adulthood? Why do we quit dreaming?
- Speed. This world is moving too fast. What’s the hurry?
- Stuff. I just have too much, and I don’t need it.
- Ignorance. I don’t take enough time to notice, anything. Yet, there’s an entire world out there!
- People. There are so many interesting people, if you just take the time to have a conversation.
- Choices. There are too many. From fast food to groceries, choices are overwhelming.
- Life. It’s meant to be lived. I should stop being busy all the time and try living.
Traveling outside of the country is more than physically changing your geographical location. Foreign travel transports your soul to other worlds, cultures, people and lives and the perspective gained is something greater than gold. Foreign experiences can break loose your imagination, dreams, heart and mind.
Leave the country.
Open your eyes.