Wednesday, November 19, 2008

6 billion reasons why travel matters

I didn't pay enough attention to the US election campaign to know if Sarah Palin was misquoted when she claimed that travel is for the elite, but I'm ready to say that this kind of thinking is really wrong. And that's why I really liked an article I got sent from the Huffington Post called Does Travel Really Matter Anyway?

Since I said I liked it, you can probably easily guess that the answer to the question in this article is YES! Travel matters a lot. The article included quotes from a bunch of travel bloggers (necessarily biased) but they all had plenty of good reasons to assert that travel is really important.

Sometimes, semi-"stuck" as I am now here in Perth, the most isolated city in the world, I try to imagine what it must be like to be someone who's never traveled anywhere. That's tough, because I was lucky to travel a lot as a child with my parents, so I can't quite imagine the perspective of someone who only knows their own backyard. If you didn't know that supermarkets could have completely different foods in them, or if you hadn't tried to ask for a hotel room in a language you couldn't really understand, how could you possibly imagine what the rest of the world is like? TV is a poor substitute, and even the best books can't do it for you. But knowing how the rest of the world fits together is so important for living well and happily and, well, to sound all lovey-dovey, making the world a better place!

So, to get back to the title of this post, there are 6 billion reasons why travel matters because it should matter to every single person on this planet. I always hope that some bits of my travel writing, somewhere, somehow, have converted someone to become a traveler instead of staying home. Okay, lecture over now.


  1. I'm originally from a very small town in Tennessee. If I had never traveled but instead remained in that rural community, my view of the world would have been very limited.

    Many small town people are discouraged from international travel because they think it's very expensive, not realizing the availability of hostels and other low-cost ways to travel. Perhaps the Internet and travel blogs can help open pathways for some of these people and show that you don't have to be from a rich, "elite" family to travel abroad.

  2. I am all with you. And I think it is especially important for world leaders (or wannabes’) to travel, but please, BEFORE they reach a position of power. But then again, it is wasted on some. I met people ‘on the road’ who never will grow through travel; who always will see the negative; who always will be ruled by fear; who always will remain judgemental. Amen.

  3. Thanks Jeff and Fida, good to hear from like-minded thinkers.

  4. Hey Amanda--

    This was the most concise and effective way to point out the relation between geographic and intellectual diversity. If you're ever interested in reading or writing travel stories that aim for that, it'd be great to see you at Best wishes!



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