This is a short post. I wont dwell on the recent disappointing European Union Referendum in Britain; suffice to say it got me thinking about the value of travel, amongst many things. It was a referendum driven by fears; misinformed fears of people and cultures many have never met, nor political decisions many have never considered.
As Sir Francis Bacon said ‘knowledge is power’, and knowledge can break down barriers of fear. It emboldens individuals to make informed decisions that undoubtedly draw on our emotional memory banks. Sat within these caches are personal experiences that likely include exposures to different cultures. Sat on a rocky outcropping between the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea, in the UK we have the luxury of being able to access a rich tapestry of cultures built over many hundreds of years across Europe. Understanding how different peoples came to be and how cultures shift to different tastes and outlooks is fascinating.
What drives the desire to travel? To see something new perhaps? To ‘reset the batteries’? It dosnt matter, but allowing yourself to be immersed in another country and culture does. Personally I will try to search out signatures of scientific past or present wherever I travel, but it isn’t the sole driver. You would be hard pressed to travel within Europe and not stumble across some artistic, historical, political or culinary treat! I have many favourite places that range the amazing Grand Cafe Orient , to the many Bacari in Venice.
Core to this travel experience are the people you meet. I’ve had the pleasure of making many friends across Europe during the last 10 years. We are different, but we get on tremendously; constantly learning something new from each other, talking about our lives and our different paths. And yet there is a common ground, the desire to learn and understand. With that common ground, societies can work together to offer complimentary solutions, to enlarge society we think we belong to.
I wonder if more people took that wonderful leap into immersive European culture whether swathes of political outlook would change. I suspect they would. What’s more is that an experience will remain with you forever, enriching your day-to-day outlook. You might find yourself eating a hearty Italian meal and subconsciously being swept to that café on the banks of the Grand Canal as the sunsets over another balmy summers day.
Carry on travelling if you are already exploring. Start if you are not. See Europe. See people. Understand.