"To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries."
- Aldous Huxley
In the modern world, traveling is not important, but vital. It is often said that traveling broadens the mind, enriches the soul, and heals the heart. Even more so, one cannot understand the political position the global community holds towards the United States without immersing oneself in other cultures. Today, we must travel to survive.
People who speak of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict without having visited the region lack a specific type of knowledge about the perspective cultures and how each group lives their lives that produces their current set of beliefs. This is why every President soon after being inaugurated travels to foreign countries to meet with other world leaders. The mere physical contact with other cultures and places broadens one’s worldview, which today happens to be an essential component to maintain our position as a world power. In reference to the above quotation, traveling enables the traveler to be exposed to the lifestyle of an indigenous group, possibly witnessing the compassion and kindness exhibited throughout a community by its members, often forcing the traveler to leave his travels with a richer understanding for those particular natives that he originally might have felt otherwise about.
In addition, the only way to continue to preserve our dominance and face the economic competition posed by the rest of the world is to work with our competition. Global mergers and acquisitions as well as our rising desire to outsource U.S. production to Mexico and China can only continue as successful if we are willing to truly understand and accept the cultural differences between America and the rest of the world, which is accomplished through traveling and sharing cultural identities. Having not frequented other place throughout the world diminishes the validity behind ones expressions and belittles their worldviews.
Often, politicians will highlight their traveling experiences as they campaign in order to increase their “worldly” appeal and draw attention to their ability to get along with leaders outside of America. Most recently, Hillary Clinton attempted to implement this tactic and disclose her battle experience by discussing her trip to Bosnia. In attempt to prove that she was more battle-ready to be commander-in-chief than Barack Obama, Clinton claimed that upon arriving in Bosnia in early 2000 that she “remembered landing under sniper fire…there was supposed to be some kind of greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.” CBS exposed the fallacies in Clinton’s most recent speech by displaying images of Clinton debarking her plane and taking photographs with troops and Bosnians on the airstrip during the “greeting ceremony” and suggesting that nobody on that day had any memory of imminent danger or sniper fire. This endeavor by Clinton worked in Obama’s, favor, showing voters that Clinton is truly not more “experienced” than she claims to be.
Here is a picture of Clinton during the "greeting ceremony" in Bosnia:
Clinton’s attempt to paint a picture far from the truth demonstrates her longing for acceptance as a worldly individual, one who has faced military experience or battle in her travels. As the terrorist threat increases for America and our economy continues to fall, we must make an effort to travel in order to educate our youth about the cultures of both our enemies and our allies, taking away a greater understanding of not only how and why the world views the United States but also of ourselves.