Jonathan Look Jr., who retired at age 50 to travel the world, believes “Travel is the antidote to our fears.”
In a thought-provoking article for Forbes, Look talks about how scary our world can sometimes seem in 2018. We are more connected than ever, and that means being constantly tuned in to news—much of it inducing fear. Despite our interconnectedness, often we seek out news that only confirms our ideas and biases.
We should challenge our preconceptions and expand our horizons, Look feels. And to do that, we travel.
Read on to see how Jonathan Look Jr. believes travel makes us wiser:
There is a tendency to feel out of control and more fearful when we are unfamiliar with or we don’t understand something. When I hear people who don’t travel expressing fears about faraway places I like to ask them how they formed their opinion. Usually it is from outdated news stories, friend of a friend anecdotes, or politically motivated tales concocted to promote agendas.
It is rare to meet a fearful traveler and it is even more rare to meet a traveler that grows more fearful as they gain experience. There is something telling in that.
Sure, there are places in the world that are inadvisable to visit, for example, disaster and conflict zones, but they are extremely small. Demonizing strangers is easy. It is harder to demonize friends. Traveling, getting to know the world and connecting with people helps reduce the risk that areas of conflict will spread.
Through traveling, you learn quickly that it is foolish to put people into categories and that the cartoonish impressions that others ascribe to other nationalities are invariably inaccurate. In fact, when you see someone thoughtlessly demonizing any group they do not know well, it says much more about the accuser than the accused.
Through traveling, we learn that people of all cultures share basically the same hopes and aspirations that we have. Yes, outside appearances are often vastly different. We pray to different Gods or no Gods at all. We dress in different manners and have different traditions and languages. Some cultures are outgoing and others are more reserved and stoic; but all cultures love their children, are proud of their heritage, want to improve conditions for their families and leave a legacy of some sort behind.
Through traveling our preconceptions are challenged and you will see other, perhaps better, ways of accomplishing positive things.