|Lucy--the elephant whisperer--in Zambia..|
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Rick Steves: "Travel changes people"
Lucy and I have gone on short-term mission trips to Mexico, Liberia and Bolivia. Lucy has also gone to Brazil, Ethiopia, Zambia and Uganda—I was not able to go on the latter excursions because of my job. We’ve also traveled to Italy more than a dozen times, and once lived there for as long as 10 months. How can I explain our travel fascination and the satisfaction and feelings of growth and that we feel?
In preparing for a coming tour of Southern Italy with Rick Steves tour company, I read a passage in one of his travel guides that eloquently discusses both benefits of travel while also giving advice about how to get the most out of each experience. I like what he said so much that I will repeat it here verbatim. Thanks for advice, Rick!
"If your trip is low on magic moments, kick yourself and make things happen. If you don’t enjoy a place, maybe you don’t know enough about it. Seek the truth. Recognize tourist traps. Give a culture the benefit of your open mind. See things as different but not better or worse. Any culture has much to share.
"Of course, travel, like the world, is a series of hills and valleys. Be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic. If something’s not to your liking, change your liking. Travel is addictive. It can make you a happier American as well as a citizen of the world. Our Earth is home to six and a half billion equally important people. It’s humbling to travel and find that people don’t envy Americans. Europeans like us, but, with all due respect, they wouldn’t trade passports.
"Globe-trotting destroys ethnocentricity. It helps you understand and appreciate different cultures. Regrettably, there are forces in our society that want you dumbed down for their convenience. Don’t let it happen. Thoughtful travel engages you with the world—more important than ever these days. Travel changes people. It broadens perspectives and teaches new ways to measure quality of life. Rather than fear the diversity on this planet, travelers celebrate it. Many travelers toss aside their hometown blinders. Their prized souvenirs are the strands of different cultures they decide to knit into their own character."
Taken from Rick Steves’ Rome, 2009, page 16.