by: Alyssa Ruffolo
Why is travel so important? Could more reasonable airfare prices and traveling fees potentially save the world? This may seem like an absurd hypothesis, but before you give up on this idea, consider the possibilities.
We live in a time when international travel is only accessible to higher-class citizens. Many middle-class families dream of making a trip to Europe, Asia, or Africa, but know that realistically they may never be able to afford it. Many Americans, as well as people in other countries, have a distorted or ignorant idea of what life is like in other nations/areas. This cultural barrier allows for generalizations and stereotypes to blossom.
If international travel became cheaper over time, most likely more people would travel internationally more often. Traveling allows us to experience new locations, new geographical features such as different views, elevations, temperatures, weather patterns, and plant/animal life. We are also exposed to different cultures through food, clothing, pop culture items such as music, advertisements, movies, and ways of living including housing/architecture, mealtimes, family/friend interactions and norms, and manners/politeness. Over time, if more people had access to international travel, they would travel more and experience various new cultures throughout their lives. Even close-minded people would at least be exposed to new ways of living and thinking, and at least have somewhat of a better understanding of other cultures. Understanding each other is the key to getting along and being able to cooperate, negotiate, and co-exist.
Understanding can only be made easier by first-hand experience. If everyone was able to get a first-hand experience in the lives/location of other people who live differently than they do, communication and clarity would eventually improve. This means that international relations would strengthen, generalizations/stereotypes would lessen, and violence could possibly decrease.
We can watch movies, read books, and listen to stories about other nations and those people who live across the world, but until we are submerged in a foreign culture will we truly understand.
originally posted: 2/27