4 Ways Travel Makes You A Better Citizen

Today is my 1 year blog anniversary! I originally began to write a celebratory post about the things I have learned over the past year but that will have to be saved for another day because today I need to discuss something permeating every aspect of my life, including what I write about here.

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Yesterday was the 2016 US presidential election and today we got the results.. It has been a precarious couple of years politically but I remained hopeful that we as a country would unite again and make history electing our first female president, as we did in 2008 electing our first black president. But as the whole world knows, that is not what happened. Instead, half of the country decided to go for the isolationist, far more controversial and less qualified candidate. I truly feared this because Donald Trump has repeatedly proven that he is a misogynist, xenophobic, close-minded person with (to put it very generously) a history racist tendencies. As I write this I am holding back a lot of strong words about him right now out of my respect for the office of the President and hope that he will change for the better.

To speak openly, I feel personally hurt right now. Hurt as a woman, as a racial minority, as a religious minority, as someone from an economically disenfranchised class, as a supporter of the LGBT equal rights movement, as a citizen of the country who claims it stands for the equality of all. Hurt that the most qualified woman and devoted civil servant to this country did not win this election. And hurt that our country is so divided and entrenched in a white supremacist and anti-feminist culture that we chose Trump specifically. I woke up this morning unprepared to face the fact that hate won. But despite all of that I am forcing myself to redetermine. Hate won't win. I redetermine to spread love and tolerance. Redetermine to focus on similarities and not differences. Redetermine to come together for the greater good of all society. And redetermine to never give up in the face of defeat.

A friend wrote a very poignant article on how this election impacts the way you travel prior to the election and now on the other side of this election I reflect on some of our vulnerabilities. I am asking myself how we can create a culture in this country to protect against these threats in the future. US citizens, as holders of arguably the most powerful passports and greatest political and economic influencers in the world, I feel have a responsibility to understand (if not see) more of the world. Yes domestic issues are important, but I think a short-sightedness on only our own personal challenges is what allowed so many to become so cynical. So I want to end this post with something a little less complain-y and a bit more motivating...

four reasons travel makes you a better citizen:

  1. You meet different people and can appreciate diversity and become more tolerant of others

  2. You can appreciate your own country and culture more by seeing others
  3. You can understand your country’s place in the world and understand foreign policy & security issues better
  4. You get a peak at how other countries handle domestic issues and can help solve your own

I write this post not to offend or divide. It is one opinion of millions and I truly believe each person’s opinion and experience is valid. My hope is to just work together toward a loving society that works for all and not just a few.

 

I would love to hear how others are feeling about this election, in the US and abroad. I want this to be a safe space where we can share, so please keep that in mind if you choose to comment.