Why do we travel? Why should we consider ourselves ambassadors?
People travel for a variety of reasons. Some travel to gain valuable life experiences and make new friends. Others travel to escape their daily routines and discover new places. And others simply use the opportunity to relax and unwind.
While it’s important to enjoy ourselves on vacation, we also need to be mindful of our actions and behaviors towards others. In other words, it matters how we treat fellow travelers and locals we meet along the way.
Particularly during international travels, we must equip ourselves with an open mind and an open heart. An open mind for embracing new ideas and ways of life; and an open heart for demonstrating compassion and understanding towards others. By exhibiting these qualities, we travel as global-minded citizens. By upholding our values and respecting those of others, we are traveling as an ambassador abroad.
The privilege of traveling as an “ambassador”
For most of human history, the idea of traveling around the world was deemed practically impossible. Aside from the privileged few who traveled as part of a diplomatic envoy, most people did not have the opportunity to travel. Those who left their home countries and ventured into the unknown, did so at great risk.
Today, we live in a much smaller world that is more connected than ever before. With advanced technology and thriving tourism, we are blessed with the extraordinary opportunity to travel quickly and seamlessly across the world in a matter of hours. In our globalized world, we are able to meet and foster relationships with people from faraway places.
This day in age, our interactions—positive and negative—have a much greater impact. As such, we should consider international travel both a pleasure and a privilege. As globetrotters, we should assume the weight and responsibility of ambassadors. We should strive to carry ourselves in a way that best represents the people and communities from which we come.
Traveling Shapes Our Perceptions
Traveling abroad allows us to defy labels and stereotypes. We’ve all heard our fair share of stereotypes regarding certain nationalities. In particular, these sentiments may exist when we haven’t been exposed to different groups of people.
To counteract this, each of us should make the extra effort to strike up conversation with locals. Whether you’re at a local market or your hotel, you should actively seek opportunities to learn about the people and places you’re visiting. Though there is no easy fix for eliminating misguided perceptions, I believe that respectful behavior and open-mindedness go a long way. These qualities lead to positive interactions, which in turn, espouse more favorable perceptions of “them” and “us”. Though we may not be a diplomat or ambassador in a formal capacity, our interactions with people from other nations certainly matter.
Traveling with intent
When traveling abroad, it is important that we demonstrate kindness and curiosity during our exchanges with others. We should strive to be kind and thoughtful, showing that we are compassionate individuals. We should also show a keen interest in learning about different cultures and ways of life. With this mindset, you will touch the lives of others in a positive and meaningful way. Perhaps, you will even make a new friend and cultivate a bond that will last a lifetime. By traveling with intent as an “ambassador” abroad, each of us can foster a global viewpoint.
To follow my journey through Europe and around the world, feel free to connect with me on Instagram: @Global.Viewpoint!
Happy Travels! -Jon
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