For those of you who don't know me, I was born in the small town of Nalerigu in Ghana, West Africa. At the time, my parents were being missionaries, helping to plant churches and raise up men and women to follow after God! It was an amazing and memorable time for me and my family during the years we were there! As the son of a missionary couple, I had the privilege to visit 10 countries (soon to be 11) including Ghana, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Greece! They say that the love for travel is like a bug, and I would agree whole-heartedly. But once it bites you, only awesomeness can ensue! In all of my travels, I had the chance to meet many meaningful people, experience many unique cultures, and explore some of the vast and uncivilized corners of the globe. Throughout all, I have learned many a lesson and was not slow to prosper from them!
1. Travel is a MUST
Guys, when I say travel is a must, I mean travel is a MUST. The truth of the matter is that if you haven't traveled, you haven't really lived yet. I don't care if it's a shorter trip to Canada or Mexico, just get out of the United States and broaden your worldview a little! Now you may be wondering, "Why is it so important for me to increase my world view?" Simple answer: You can never appreciate what you have until you see what others don't. Other positives of a broad worldview include having an open mind when looking at any situation, being less tied down to one spot, and being more versatile when experiencing a problem. (I know travel is a very broad term, but for the sake of shortness, assume I am talking about international travel. While there is nothing wrong with travel within the states, you will not get the same understanding of life by traveling nationally.)
2. America Is the Most Spoiled Country In the World
Now I know many of you may take offense at this statement, but if you do, I'm gonna go ahead and assume that you haven't done a lot of international travel yet. Get outside the U.S. one time and you will see for yourself what I mean! I have heard an insane amount of bickering in recent times about "privileged whites" or "privileged blacks." There is no such thing. There are only "privileged Americans." (I may write an article on this later) As Craig Smith put it in his article to the World Net Daily,
"Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don’t have and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here."
3. The Best Things in Life Are Simple
Running, running, running... That's what we do nonstop, hoping that sometime down the road we will accomplish our life's goals and finally be able to slow down and relax. This, however, is never the case due to the fact that our society has set the bar of the so-called "American Dream" so high that few of us can ever hope to attain to it in our lifetime. Those who do "succeed" in life knew the right people, worked the right job, or came into their position by birth/inheritance. These "lucky" individuals still often end up feeling empty with the monotony and stress of life. If you get the chance to travel, you will likely get the chance to see many people who are happy and content with where they are in life, and are not constantly striving to "meet expectation" because they live in a culture that doesn't demand it of them.
4. Less is More
I know we have all probably heard this statement a thousand times, but it really comes into context when you start to travel, especially when you are visiting a low-income country. The nicest and most generous people that I have ever met were a group of Syrian refugees in a camp outside of Athens, Greece. They had lost everything. All that they had was what they could carry on their backs during the grueling trip across the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesvos just south of the mainland. Now they were living in cramped conditions with limited resources, and do you know what they did? They offered us a shower, and food, and coffee, and a place to crash away from the heat in the little 10x20 "containers" that they were forced to call home. Here they were, hundreds of miles away from home, with almost nothing to their name, and yet they were offering what they had to us unconditionally. And we won't even give and sandwich to a guy on the side of the road because we are "too good for him."
In closing, I would like to make a plea to all of you who have not yet experienced the amazing enlightenment of international travel. Please, please, please, make it a priority to get out of the country in the next year. Go help a crew drill a well in Africa, or go as humanitarian aid to Europe to aid in the refugee crisis still raging there. Where you go is your choice, but whatever you do, it will be worth it, and the rewards with be life changing!
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain