It is not important. You can live a truly educated and meaningful life without traveling. Of course, traveling can be an enriching experience, adding perspective to one's life, but travel is NOT a prerequisite to wisdom or empathy. I know people who have never traveled, and are compassionate, intelligent people. I know people who travel all the time, and are insufferable morons. Like anything else, it is what you make of it.
We have a whole nation of people who have never been exposed to people different than they are, and look where it has gotten us. I'm very proud of having lived so many different places. Japan was amazing for a 19 year old wild child that I was. Traveling makes you question your assumptions and learn that "normal" is imaginary.
Just got back from Ukraine. Not what I expected at all. The people are just like us other than a few cultural differences. Everytime I go abroad my world view is radically altered. I think traveling to other countries and cultures is good for the mind and character. It helps cut through media propaganda and prejudice.
“The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger, and it is beauty on his part to pass over transgression.”—Proverbs 19:11.
It's from the Bible. The book has a few gems in it.
Going to other countries helps you understand why they do things differently. My situation was different from an American learning new values abroad - I was an Irishman in America trying to understand why Americans did things the way they do. I think two things are needed - time and an open mind. I don't think a short vacation will cut it.
I think so. Especially for us Americans. We are so insulated and ignorant of difference, and often afraid of it.
It has also been true for some time now that international travel does not have to be that much more costly than domestic travel -- so that's no excuse.
I've had the privilege of visiting 8 foreign countries (not counting the ones I passed through in transit) including Vietnam and Turkey as well as Europe and North America -- some more than once. It has been enriching.
Travel is not a bad thing but until it ceases being prohibitively expensive it's a privilege and a luxury, and cannot be a necessity.
Sure there are ways of doing so that appear inexpensive but it all adds up to a total that most people, especially Americans, can't afford.
I think the Antony Bourdains of this world, who hop from country to country, staying in luxury hotels are not experiencing the culture. They are on safari.
Likewise any tourist who is insulated against what most of the locals have to live with, are not really experiencing the culture.
A friend of mine once went to the Gambia. Outside of the hotel he was struck by the poverty. The hotel did not represent Gambia's culture. Outside of the hotel did.
One would need to live in a country for a while and to speak the language to feel the culture authentically.
It probably is important. Once you know about another people and their culture it puts a human connection on the issues that plague the world. I think it would affect foreign policy in the sense that the people of a country would be less willing to support a government that wants to harm other people in other countries when it comes to economic strategy etc. Leaders of certain governments probably wouldn't give a shit either way though.
It isn’t just important, in my opinion it is essential. I fear for the future when so many barriers which had come down at great cost, and much bloodshed, are now being raised again. The fear of “the other”, and the resurgence of extreme nationalism is beyond worrying, it is terrifying! The best way to eliminate fear of strangers is to see them in their own natural habitat....you then become the “stranger in a strange land”. By wearing the other person’s shoes, and being a “foreigner “ for a change can give us some humility and make us realise that we humans are all the same under the skin. We are all born and die in the same manner, it’s just a pure accident of birth which part of the world it happens to be.