Why We Need to Prioritize International Travel... Yes, Even Now.

Over the past week, continued tragedy has hit our world.  There hardly seem enough hashtags to keep up with all of the horrific events taking place around the globe and in our own backyards.

It’s pretty frightening, isn’t it? 

I happened to catch the story of what occurred in Nice, France right as it was unfolding.  I know people who live there.  I recall my own vacation in Nice, walking the same streets that were now making dark history.  I have clients who vacationed there only weeks ago. It hit close to home.

While events such as this one can very easily make us feel like it’s not safe to go anywhere these days, I don’t believe we should give them the power to prevent us from carrying on with our lives.  

Of course, we must be sensible and consider actual risks, but we’ll end up cheating ourselves if we try to live inside a safety bubble.  If we are being completely honest, our own streets are not winning any safety competitions and the truth is, our world just isn’t all that safe, anymore.  For various reasons, these facts won’t really be the focus of today’s blog.  But, when considering travel plans, what’s the answer?

This is less about safety than it is necessity—

Because safety isn’t something we can accurately predict. And, unless we plan on hunkering down in bunkers and surviving on rations, we should keep living our days here on earth in the fullest, most life-giving way possible. 

So why do I believe travel is such a huge, important part of this? Well, I said I wasn’t going to touch on the reasons I believe the world isn’t very safe, but maybe, in a roundabout way, I am doing just that. 

Why you should make travel a priority

I believe we need to know the world, and the world needs to know us. We need to experience different cultures—different ways of living and believing. We need to do this often and consistently, in a way that is open and celebratory.  We should deliberately seek out ways to appreciate the diversity that God has created throughout humanity. 

So much of what is hurting our world today is based in fear. We fear what we do not know and do not understand. We fear difference, and we let our fear divide us and create barriers that were never meant to exist. Before we see human beings, we see black or white. We see Christian or Muslim. We see straight or gay. We see democrat or republican. We see American or NOT American. 

We see Us and we don’t see US in THEM. 

And that, I believe, is a very big problem. But I also believe that travel helps to eliminate it. Because, guess what? We will have an easier time learning about and accepting other races, religions, cultures and ethnicities, if we have real experiences with people who don’t look, sound, believe, worship, and live the way that we do. 

And yes, this can start in our own neighborhoods and communities—America is “the great melting pot.” But the picture is actually way bigger. And I believe that one of the greatest gifts travel has given me over the years is an appreciation and understanding of people that are vastly different from me. I think we could all use a whole lot more of that. 

Understanding and appreciation are natural byproducts of traveling the world, so now, perhaps more than ever, we should be packing our bags and hitting the road.

You might think you’re only planning a honeymoon, a birthday celebration, a bucket list trip, or your annual getaway, but you can’t help what will happen when you open yourself up to the world and allow it to change you.