When we travel abroad, our lifelong inner conversation becomes more focused and intense due to the absence of the distraction of our repetitive daily experience and routine; the latter does not call upon any singular awareness. When we go abroad and encounter new environments and “foreign” people, our attention becomes focused purposefully elsewhere.
Our previous blogs have meditated principally on the great significance of the inner nature of our lives, feelings of worth, success and self-fulfillment, often residing in ourselves in projected comparison with our contemporaries. We have maintained that significant and meaningful self-evaluation is the accumulated total sum of such inner takes and perceptions.
On the subject of travel, itself, we have observed that long distance and truly exotic voyaging can be meaningfully experienced through the Arts, especially fine Literature.
Actual travel can free the mind from useless preoccupation with banal stereotypes and mindless preconceptions and liberates our capacity for the understanding of others and, by extension, ourselves. An example is in the attainment of a better and objective understanding of grammar from the study of a second language. By analogy, a spontaneous realization and recognition of our own routine folkways and practices is gained by the observation of differing practices. For example, observation of people who eat with the assistance of chopsticks, obliges the western visitor take particular notice that he does otherwise, he eats with the aid of a knife and fork. By travel, we thus become more aware as well of our own practices, patterns of thought and routine behavior; travel is always potentially an additional voyage of discovery of ourselves.
A cogent subject for consideration in our ongoing inner conversation with ourselves, is the objective reconsideration of our limited “cookie cutter” expectations and related “group think”, a benefit derived from the perspective gained from travel, (see blog # 55).
Actual delight is experienced in the recognition of a place, previously familiar to our inner self, as a site recognized from the reading of literature and history.
In confronting and experiencing variations in the ethnic or national life of others, the visitor may choose to be especially accepting and deferential in his behavior in an effort to make a good impression. Would that we could all tailor our sensibilities and behavior after his return home.
Of greatest importance is the realization that despite ostensible differences in appearance, folkways and patterns of thought, we come away with the certified realization that all mankind is uniform in its aspiration for peace, good health and self-fulfillment.
ADDENDUM: It is hoped that in the not-too-distant future, travel tours would place somewhat less emphasis on forts, cathedrals and statues of gods and generals and more on people viz., post offices, food stores, schools, local meeting places and the like. -p