Here you go friends. My first guest post comes from my new friend, Jeff Goins. Jeff and I share a love for travel and adventure so I asked him to write ‘How Traveling Changed My Worldview”… or his worldview actually. Something else I really like about Jeff is his ability to write and engage people in conversation. ENJOY!!!
First, I left home. Not like mom-and-dad’s “home.” Like, real home. Comfort. Stability. Predictability.
My best friend and I packed up his pickup truck and drove 18 hours from central Illinois to the “hill country” of Texas.
We spent the summer as camp counselors at a ranch just outside of Austin. From that experience, we learned that Texans are very passionate about, well, Texas. And we taught them that the “s” in Illinois is, in fact, silent.
This was only the beginning, though, of our cross-cultural adventures.
Immediately following that summer, we repacked our bags and took a flight across the Atlantic Ocean to Spain, where we spent the next four months studying in Seville. That semester, we learned as much from our professors as we did from the regulars at the nearby flamenco bar.
After Spain, I was never the same. I discovered a new and beautiful word that would haunt me for the rest of my adulthood: wanderlust. I was plagued with this insatiable hunger for new. New cultures, new languages, new food and new customs.
Well, at least… new to me.
I learned to love the world and the vehicle that allowed me to see it — travel. From there, I was eventually led to the mission field and have spent the past six years mobilizing others to get involved in what’s happening around the world.
I think everyone should travel. Seeing the world has made me a better person, through and through — making me more tolerant, introspective, and flexible.
Traveling Makes You More Tolerant (and Humble)
Sometimes, it takes a trip to the other side of the world to show you that not everyone is like you. It’s humbling.
When I was in Spain, I very quickly learned that Americans were not venerated everywhere (especially at a time when George W. Bush was responsible for sending more troops — some of which were Spanish — into Iraq).
Traveling Makes You More Introspective (and Spiritual)
I don’t know what it is about the lulling motion of a train ride across Europe or the peaceful flight over the Caribbean, but travel does something inexplicable to your soul.
It causes me to think thoughts I don’t usually think. It allows my spirit to go to places it doesn’t often go.
It only took 15 days in Mexico to change nearly everything I thought about God, miracles, and the spiritual realm.
It’s a long story to tell, so let’s just say this — somewhere in the southern state of Chiapas is an older man who was once paralyzed and can now dance jigs (or, you know, the Mexican equivalent).
Traveling Makes You More Flexible
All it takes is a week, maybe even a day, in another culture to realize that America does, in fact, “run on Dunkin.”
Our time-obsessed, productivity-driven, hyper-caffeinated culture is, at least in some respects, missing out on the finer things of life — particularly, waiting.
Life in the Southern hemisphere is especially known for its slower pace of life. In Africa, I’m told, they have gradations of the word “now” (none of which are synonymous with the immediacy the word tends to have in the U.S.).
Time, food, and customs tend to disabuse us of our cultural prejudices more than anything else. In Spain, I once waited to have coffee with a man for nearly 45 minutes. He showed up, without apology or excuse. That’s just how things work there. No rush, no hurry. no pasa nada.
As I’ve traveled to various countries, I’ve learned the importance of learning to be flexible (because you have to be), and it’s a gift I’ve been able to, on occasion, give back to my culture.
Like I said, I think we all should experience the world.
We’re missing out on amazing customs and culture, traditions that would enrich some of our lives so much more than iPads and laptops and plasma screens are able.
How has traveling challenged you worldview?
Or, where would you travel to, if you could go anywhere?
Bio: Jeff Goins blogs at Goins, Writer and works for Adventures in Missions, a short-term missions organization based in Georgia.
You can follow him on Twitter @JeffGoins