Foto: © UNWTO
Who does not dream about travelling? Isn’t travelling, no matter who we are and where we come from, part of our lifestyle and pleasure of living?
The vast treasures of travelling lie within the opportunity of broadening your horizon and breaking the barriers between different cultures and nations. Everyone who is given the opportunity should be aware of the significance that travelling brings with it and thus, make the best of it.
“Bon voyage!” or “Have a safe trip”? Travel-book writer Rick Steves describes in his new book “Travel as a Political Act” the rising fear of travelling and common prejudices of particular destinations. These lingering prejudices and the avoiding of specific areas of the world is also a consequence due to terrorist attacks in the past years that have put into question the safety of a traveller’s journey and destination.
Indeed, a crucial turning point of “carefree” travelling was after the terrorist attacks of September 11th of 2001 in New York. What is more, the recently quite frequent incidents in big European touristic cities like London, Paris or Barcelona, have frightened people to travel around popular destinations.
What comes next? Is it a risk to travel to this city? More and more, travellers have to confront questions like these. You never know – and that is the most dangerous part.
It might sound like a paradox but in this changing “atmosphere”, including the nationalist movements (like Brexit, for example), travelling has become even more important to see the world and try to understand it better. Only by experiencing real life and by being open to the unknown, you are able to comprehend the other.
Why is travelling so important?
At first, as the author Steves says, “you learn a lot about your country by leaving it and looking at it at a distance.” So, considered from an ethnocentric point of view, travelling helps to get to know your own roots. This is because while travelling you recognise the differences to your own culture and compare it. It is in our nature to compare ourselves with the unknown because it is what actually identifies us. In this sense, travelling contributes to not only define our own ethnocentricity but eventually to undermine it and open our personal horizon.
Thus, leaving our comfort zone and getting to know the unknown might give us the possibility to discover cultural diversity in this world and learn from the other’s perspective. Besides, it is the chance to get to know and accept the legitimacy of different moralities.
“You don’t have to like their answer, but at least try to understand it”, clarifies Rick Steves in his book.
And of course, this attitude towards the country and the culture we are visiting shapes the world and our future. A cautious approach to the unfamiliar culture does not help the world to develop and transform better the tourism industry – contrariwise – it stops this progress and hinders us to see the truth through our own eyes.
One thing is for sure – we all need to be less wary of venturing out into the world and try to use our possibilities to discover the cultural and natural richness of this beautiful planet.
Not till then, we are able to actually cause a difference.