I wonder if travel is the best experience in helping a person develop a larger, more sophisticated world view.
I have been traveling extensively since I’ve been nineteen years old, and have logged over three million miles. I’ve traveled and worked and lived and studied in most every major city in the world (that also includes nearly all of the major cities in America).
I ask, am I better off than if I would have remained solely in the city of my birth, and read books and spent time thinking about the world?
The following are a few observations:
One of the great philosophers in history was Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). His lectures, books and articles set the agenda for modern philosophical thought in western civilization. He was the intellectual architect of the Enlightenment, which guides the majority of our thinking about life to this very day. Interestingly, he never ventured more than 200 kilometers from his home town in Prussia, and taught at the university in the city where he was born. Travel was independent of his great accomplishments.
Lately, I have this sensation when I travel, that I’m not going any place. I’m stationary in my body, and when I’m in a foreign country I don’t feel any different than being in my home. Sometimes I have even wondered if I’ve remained set and different places move to my stationary position. It’s like being on a theatrical stage where I stand on my marks and the sets change during the scenes of the play. (Maybe I am over traveled.)
Yet, the ease and volume of people traveling, through out the ages, has changed the world for the better. Even though Kant traveled little, he believed world peace was a product of universal democracy and worldwide cooperation. I concur. I’m not sure I would have become a proponent of this kind of global outlook had I not traveled so extensively.
My conclusion: whether you travel or not, you can develop a bigger picture of life.