People travel for many reasons: to escape, to explore, to elevate, to energize or to examine.
However, avid travellers are fully aware that there is a distinct difference between genuine travelling and a vacation: one involves sleeping on the third train of the day, the other involves spending an entire trip on the beach with a pina colada.
This post is for the traveller who journeys the world in search of understanding; the traveller who desires to truly immerse themselves in a place and its people because there are questions that need to be answered not only for selfish reasons, but because they matter to generations of the world that will follow in our footsteps. To learn, to question, to challenge perspectives…to recognize that a critical component of true travelling is the ability it has to open our minds. Frequently this quest will circumnavigate notions of democracy, judgement, inequality and justice. This quest will analyze people and their history and instigate a judgement on others actions and belief systems. Most importantly, this quest will undoubtedly ask of us to define our own value system more explicitly.
While exploring the world in this way, it is essential that we open ourselves up to discovering one thing only: the truth. Not popular opinion. Not the answers in our high school textbooks. Not one side of a story over another. Not the version of truth we expect or hope for.
As we aim to piece the puzzle together, it’s also important to understand that from where we are in that puzzle, we cannot truly see the entire picture ourselves. Our understanding, our own experience may help in answering some questions but we must always ask more. We live in a world of a million shades of grey, no one history or version of it will ever accurately portray any story in its entirety. It is a continuous search for truth, and one I am certain will challenge us over an entire lifetime.
Just as importantly, as a visitor, we must understand that our opinion really does not matter as much as we would like it to. We get to fly back to the comforts of our home and the place we belong, leaving the citizens behind to face a reality that we must never be ignorant or pretentious enough to think we fully understand.