International travel has become much more affordable and convenient in recent years. Forgetting for a moment the environmental cost of air travel, this is great news for anyone longing to explore. It’s now easier than ever to visit even the remotest corners of the world, and although many travellers love trying new foods and seeing famous monuments, exploring new cultures will often provide most worthwhile travel experiences. But why is exploring new cultures the best part of travelling?
You’ll widen your perspective of the world
Even if you try your best to avoid racism and xenophobia, you probably still have some subconscious preconceptions about other people and cultures. This is normal – your own culture will have shaped your view of other cultures, whether you realise it or not. Travelling is one of the easiest ways to dispel these views and learn a thing or two about the importance of keeping an open mind. Even if you love your hometown and country, you’ll learn a lot about humanity and how it varies worldwide by exploring other cultures.
You’ll gain an education
Culture is tied to history, and you should try your best to acknowledge and understand both when visiting a new country. If you travel to Morocco, for example, you could dive into learning all about the beautiful history and symbolism in crafts such as Moroccan embroidery. In this amazing northern African country, you can also visit archaeological sites like Walili (Volubilis), a native town that had been colonised by the Roman Empire. Search for fascinating facts to enrich your mind – by learning about other cultures, you’re learning about collective human history.
You’ll meet new people and make new friends
Wouldn’t it be great to have friends as far apart as India, Kenya and Ethiopia? Meeting people from all walks of life and maintaining connections with them will enhance and enrich your own life, and you’ll learn a lot about yourself by seeing yourself through others’ eyes. Plus, if you ever return to the same country, you’ll already have a friend to spend time with.
You’ll improve as a person
Meeting new people, many of whom you won’t always agree with, will help you to develop conflict resolution skills that you can then use in your everyday life. Additionally, you’ll learn to adapt quickly and keep an open mind in new situations.
You’ll learn about your own culture
If you live in the same place your whole life, you’ll never fully learn how to praise its virtues and critique its shortcomings. Experiencing new cultures will help you to view your own as if from a foreign perspective – long-term travellers often say that coming home after a long trip feels almost like travelling to a new place; no longer does everything feel ‘normal’. This is a good thing and will give you the chance to decide for yourself what you like and dislike about your culture.
When you travel, always be sensitive to cultural differences, and treat others with respect. If you follow these two basic rules and remain open to the idea of meeting new people and learning new things, discovering new cultures will greatly enrich your life.