It seems that we, as people, are not as open-minded as we could be. So often we are unwilling to see the other side of things. We are convinced that the way we do something is the only way that works. When someone does something that doesn't fit in our approach, we react to it growling and snapping, "How can you do that?" There is only one way of living life, and no other.
But this is not the case. All we need do is look outside to see that our way is not the only way.
There are many cultures besides the one we are part of. And they are both close and far. It is not often that we interact with these cultures though. In order to do that we must leave our own and travel to another, at least for a time.
But travel should not be confused with vacation. Vacation is sitting in an air conditioned hotel in Honolulu. When we are on vacation we try to hide from our culture. We try to forget the difficulties of life, not allowing ourselves to be exposed to anything.
Travel is very different. There is no silver platter for a traveler. In order to get on with life in a culture we must adopt aspects of that culture. We surround ourselves with a new culture when we travel. The old way of life is still there, but it's the return that's different. When we return we bring things with us, not just trinkets and souvenirs, but ideas too. Ideas that can help us understand where other people are coming from. What we experience from traveling can give us a new perspective of how to solve problems that we may not have been able to solve otherwise. We can live with an awareness of how others live. And see things with an open mind.
Logan Reveil, 17
Homer High School student