When people travel they tend to understand other’s ethnicity, culture and mannerisms better. When they travel they get a deeper insight into other people’s life. When they travel they start knowing what people really are and not just interpret by what is told to them on wiki.
Be it national travel or international travel, travel opens you up to a beautiful new world.
That little effort you take to use sign language to offer a cup of milk in china or how a French man tries ordering chai in India takes you closer to the culture of a foreign land.
The more you travel, the more you realize the basics are the same wherever you are on the globe.
There are two little stories that I would like to share. In both the cases I had preconceived notion about the local people and both the times I felt like a fool afterwards. We should all travel and explore and go beyond the information Internet offers on Wiki and Google (page 1) when it comes to creating notion about people from other cities or countries.
The first one was in my own country, India. And my country is big and diverse. This was when I was out doing a mega road trip to South of India. Everybody warned me against people in Kerala (in tourism term – god’s own country). Every person I knew warned me about people in Kerala and how unfriendly and snobbish they are.
I was driving through that part of the country for almost 15 days. Many places where the road signs were not in a language I understand, I stopped my car to ask for directions. Help always poured in. Another thing happened. If the person did not know the destination himself, he would go consult 3-4 more people and only then come back with a reply, which would for sure take me to my destination. Be it a big town or a small village the response remained the same.
A stranger being helped by locals in the time of need and people going out of their way to do so. I never remember doing anything like that for strangers in my life. I also realized what people told me about people in Kerala was a myth and was told by people who had never travelled to the state.
The second incident is gets more interesting. In Beijing, China, language is even a bigger barrier. I needed to go to a railway station and all I had was the name of the place written in the local language on a piece of paper by the hotels travel desk. So I walked around showing the piece of paper to people.
At some point a person whom I showed the paper to, just turned around from where he was heading, held my hand and started walking through a narrow alley. It was kind of uncomfortable (walking with a stranger and not knowing the directions) for me but I decided to take my chances. He walked for another couple of kilometers till we reached the train station. He walked me to the entrance of the railway station, took a U-Turn and walked back without even waiting for a Thank You from me.
That’s when I realized he went out of his way, in a completely opposite direction to help me out. It will not be surprising if I told you that before I left for China, people had told me almost the same thing that they told about people in Kerala. “People in China are very arrogant and not helpful.”
That’s what travel did to me, broadened my understanding of the world. Hope I keep traveling and learning more and more about people around the world. For all of you out there, I ask you to travel as well locally or internationally. The best way to know people is to travel to a place and get to know the people out there.
The world is flat and shrinking, travel helps kill all boundaries.Travel for a better world!
Story By: Sudip Bhattacharya
Sudip is a tea lover, food explorer, traveller, backpacker, storyteller, an avid blogger who tells his story in a few words and many brilliant pictures and a very dear friend. This among many other passions he has.The world through his lenses always appears more insightful and all that he captures actually comes to life. Find more of his photo blogs here.