Travel Teaches Life Lessons

by Abigail Knowles Wolfe (BPRW)

Travel Teaches Life Lessons
Avid international travelers inevitably have a different perspective on life than those sticking close to home. For one, international travelers have been forced, time and time again, to leave their comfort zones and to enter cultural environments that might at first seem strange to them. Perhaps, they have even had to rely on the kindness of complete strangers to give them directions, tell them the time or give them advice on lodgings, restaurants and transportation.

As an international traveler you are undoubtedly a representative of your home nation whether you actively want to take on this role or not. Luckily, African Americans have seemingly avoided the stigma of the “Ugly American” traveler epithet hailing from the 1958 novel that characterizes American citizens rude and ostentatious while living abroad. For the most part it seems African Americans traveling internationally are perceived to be polite and respectful visitors to other locales.

There are a great deal of biblical verses about foreigners in strange lands and the value of hospitality and kindness to those who are far from home and in need of a resting place. Many nations and cultures, particularly in Africa and parts of the Middle East, take this calling to hospitality quite seriously as a reflection of their relationship to and respect for God. It is therefore even more important not only accept the hospitality of others when needed, but to offer hospitality to others in need in return.

As African Americans and Americans from all backgrounds traverse the globe, it is important to remember that we are all a reflection of where we come from. Moreover, when interacting with individuals from other nations here at home we should be focusing on how we ourselves would like to be treated were we in their shoes. Paying the goodness and kindness foreword is only the beginning of a better world.
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