A Belief Is A Poor Excuse for An Experience
Not a week goes by where I don't hear a person say something ignorant of the world. Or at least "ignorant" as I believe the world to be. (Maybe I'm the ignorant one, in which case, leave a comment below...I'd love to hear!)
It's sweeping statements such as "these people are like that" or "that place is dangerous".
Living in America, maybe I get to hear it more than most. This country loves to gang up against the "uncool kids in the schoolyard". Statements such as "Mexico is full of lazy people" or "China started the pandemic" or "Palestinians are unequivocally wrong".
Too few Americans have traveled to the rest of the world. Especially those people making such sweeping statements. Their beliefs are strong but their experiences are weak.
"A belief is a poor excuse for an experience. If you think you know what China is like, go to China." -Tony Robbins
Knowledge from the news or textbooks can never replace the experience of travel. Of seeing another country, their people, their religion and their culture. No story or documentary can every paint the picture so well as your own two eyes can see.
The more I've seen of the world, the more I realize how little I truly know. Visiting new places opens the door to exploring what my beliefs are, how I perceive the world, and asks if I want to continue on with that belief.
The more often you deep seated (but ill-formed beliefs) are challenged by traveling, the more you begin to see how little you really know.
You begin to see that your view of the world comes from a specific vantage point. Your vantage point isn't wrong. Nor is it right. But there are other vantage points by which you can also see the exact same thing.
If a group of 10 people sit around a flower, staring at its beauty, each of these 10 people sees a different reality of this flower. Everyone sees the exact same flower. Everybody's view is 100% accurate. But everyone sees something different.
Travel opens the eyes to seeing the world from a new vantage point. Not one that is right, nor one that is wrong, but just a new one. And the more vantage points that a person collects, the more they might find they have a belief with a deeper foundation.
Here's a video I took in Myanmar, doing my best to be inconsistent!