When I use the word travel, I don't mean a package holiday to Disney Land.
We are all constantly bombarded by TV, social media and the radio telling us what to think, when to think it, who is good and who is bad. We are all so used to being told what to think that many of us don't even question it. We don't realise its even happening. Without knowing it we have formed prejudice and opinions about our fellow man and the parts of the world they live. Maybe we knowingly hold these prejudices to make ourselves feel better about ourselves and where we live. Whatever the reason, we are wrong to be so narrow-minded.
Travel, real off the beaten track world travel will open your eyes and mind to the world, its people, their cultures and humanity. You will see that in many ways we are all the same. We all want peace, a place to belong, something to believe and to love and protect our families. Religion has probably been the biggest divide in history. Western news is full of extremist and fanatics committing horrendous acts in the name of religion. The media constantly drives fear into us all. Its big business. The words Islam, Islamic extremist, Muslims and terrorist are all words commonly heard together by western media striking fear into the masses. But have you ever met a Muslim? You almost certainly have. There is over 1 billion Muslims in the world. But it's not until you travel and allow yourself to be immersed in other peoples cultures that you will see there really is nothing to fear. I only mentions Muslims because of the way many in the west perceive them. Islam is a peaceful religion. Fear is our biggest enemy. The world would be a pretty dull place if we all believed and thought the same thing. It's our differences in culture, our beliefs, architecture and ways of life that makes travel so interesting.
Travel is dangerous
A number of people tried to tell me not go to Russia. They told me the Russians are not good people, they don't like the English. None of those people had ever been to Russia. Everything they said was based on a prejudice formed from years of watching the news and reading news papers. Obviously there was the cold war and many years of suspicion. But the reality is, politicians are the problem. Not the people. I have been shown so much kindness from complete strangers that I have met on the road throughout Russia. I learnt some time ago to disregard what people say and to go and see for myself.
I was in a car park of a large hardware store called Leroy Merlin making some repairs to my truck in Irkutsk, Siberia. I needed to remove the end of a broken half shaft from the rear differential and it was a difficult job. A number of customers had been attracted to my corner of the car park by my big red truck and offered to help. Including the store bus driver. Despite my insistence I was ok 2 Russians ended up doing half the job for me. This is typical of travel in these parts.
Travel of any kind opens your mind to new possibilities and will make you feel like anything is possible. It's like a reset button. The longer you travel, and the more off the tourist trail you go the bigger the reset. If you don't like your life, then travel. Just go away for a while. Choose a place you have always wanted to visit and go. Go with no expectations and see what happens. I guarantee you won't regret it. Be Brave. Live your dreams.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness… Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” (Mark Twain, 1869)