As a travel blogger, I am sure there are more than a few of you who would like me to keep politics out of my posts. Unfortunately, I just can’t do that. We have a responsibility as travelers, and like it or not, travel does involve a bit of politics, as we were all clearly able to see this past week. If you follow me, it’s no secret how I feel about the most recent election. It shouldn’t surprise you either, if you really know me. The current administration and I don’t see eye to eye on a single issue, and I am already dreading traveling with him as the president.
The reality is that I don’t believe America is the greatest country in the world, and I don’t believe in putting it first. Why? As humans, we share one planet, one planet that in the past week has become even closer to doomsday. This isn’t about countries only looking out for themselves, it’s about us looking out for each other. It’s clear that the government isn’t going to do that, so it’s up to us, ordinary citizens. Who better to do this than travelers?
It is our responsibility as travelers to break down stereotypes and misjudgments. I’d like to think many of us do that already, but I do believe we need to do so even more. I started this blog with the intention of showing the world to people and to show that although we have many differences, we have more in common than we may realize. Yes, the color of our skin comes in different shades, our religious beliefs may conflict, and our cultural traditions vary, but we are all skin and bone and our time here in limited. Why must we spend it fueling hatred? So we’re different, let’s be different and appreciate that we aren’t all the same. Imagine how boring that would be!
This is not the time to be selfish. This is not the time to harp on our differences. Instead it is a time to embrace our commonalities. I love the world with my whole heart and soul. I don’t travel just to travel; it isn’t about checking off places, it’s about making connections. I want to immerse myself in different cultures and learn every single detail. For me, it’s about meeting people who live there and learning about their lives and traditions. I love being surrounded by languages I don’t understand and signs I can’t read while experiencing the sights and sounds so different from those of home. I embrace all that makes a country different from my own, and then I come home to tell everyone about how the trip with the hope that they’ll realize their preconceived ideas about a place were wrong.
The whole point of this blog is to open up a different world to people while simultaneously breaking down and eliminating people’s fears of the world. To show them that the world they think of, the world portrayed by the media, it doesn’t exist. It really doesn’t. And if it does, it is the minority. Ask a traveler, go ahead ask one, and they’ll tell you countless stories of moments they were helped by a stranger. Yes, a person from a foreign country helping a person no matter their skin color, age, religion, gender, sexual preference, the list goes on and on.
If you’re reading this and you’re a traveler, do me a favor and keep spreading your good stories. Keep trying to change the opinions of those too afraid to leave home. Keep spreading the good. Sure, we’ve all had a bad travel day here or there, but don’t let those be the focus. It’s all in your hands and mine to end the hatred and fight on the front lines to end these views.
Now if you’re reading this and you don’t travel and see the world as a frightening place, I ask something else of you. You can continue to stay in the safety of your home, but stop judging what you don’t know. Stop creating fear where there is none. People are people, and those people are innately good. Hate doesn’t end hate. When you strip us down, we are all just skin and bones, it doesn’t even matter the color of that skin. We’re all fighting each day to keep afloat, to give our families everything we can. We all need food and water to survive. We all have goals and dreams. We have all felt love and hate. We are all just floating along trying to figure it out.
Maybe instead of judging and fearing, what we should do is try to figure out what makes us the same and then use it to learn from each other and unify this world that we live in. We all know our leaders aren’t going to do that for us, especially these current leaders. Their words and actions are clearly being used to drive us apart. That’s where we all come in, travelers and those too afraid to leave their front door. We can join our neighbors and gain a better understanding of who they are. Together we can drive out hate and xenophobia making the world a more peaceful place to live in. But, it’s all up to us. We owe it to each other and our planet.
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