Wander Purposefully is rooted in Eric Travis' real life experiences around the world, and while thru-hiking the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The PCT is a long distance hiking trail located in the USA that starts at the Mexican border, runs through California, Oregon, and Washington, and finally terminates at the Canadian border.
Bursting the Bubble
"I learned more about happiness during my travels to Africa and the Middle East in the midst of a crisis than in twelve years of sheltered study [at Harvard]." - Shawn Achor The Happiness Advantage
Never in history has it been this easy to travel. Traveling is no longer esoteric. People do it all the time. Because of this, it's never been more advantageous to attune yourself to other points of view. Not only are we able to travel to an alarming amount of places, people from those places can now come and visit us. Before recent advances, there was little incentive for this type of attunement. We encountered those of different perspectives infrequently.
The amount of places someone has travelled is essentially a function of how many opportunities he or she has had to travel. Most times, it is a gift to be able to travel. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to 48 states and 40 countries, and almost every single one of these opportunities has been a gift.
I grew up in a decently well-off family. But with five eternally hungry sons and five college tuitions, our family vacations were not typically of the international, or even interstate, variety.
Outside of family vacations, my first travels were Asian and North American tours with my childhood choir. I was invited to participate in these tours because I was well-behaved and a good enough singer. That said, I still was only able to go because my parents could pay for the travel costs.
My point is, there will always be someone who travels more than you. It is important to realize, however, that where, and how often you travel is not as important as how you travel.
You could get the all-inclusive resort package to Tahiti and spend your vacation with your significant other in a yurt over the turquoise water. That sounds fun, but you could also do something similar without flying all the way to Tahiti. Conversely, if you went to Tahiti and spent time with the locals, intentionally observing their customs in a candid fashion, your trip to Tahiti would be worthwhile and serve a purpose. You would have a glimpse of what it's like to be a Tahitian. You'd be on your first steps to becoming Tahitian.
When you observe a culture in its authentic, candid state, you begin to understand how that culture functions in relation to your own. The culture could be on the other side of the world, or it could be the next town over. When you experience it, you begin to understand what makes their culture different from yours. You suddenly are granted the context to be able to imagine walking a mile in their shoes (if they have any shoes to begin with).
These are the beginnings of empathy: the most important quality a person can gain or display.
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