world travel

Is Travelling Necessary for Understanding the World?

As an architect who loves home decor, I believe travelling around the world can allow an individual to see all kinds of wonderful things that they may not have seen otherwise. Living in different cultures can give architects ideas to blend cultures together in creative ways to invent new styles. But with that all said, I still think travelling isn’t necessary for understanding the world.

I was thinking about this a lot recently because I overheard two young girls chatting. One girl was a home-body who liked to stay in her small town and work from there. The other girl was constantly travelling and worked from her laptop in hotels. They were both around age 25 and one said, “When I was twenty I had already been to 25 countries.” And the other one said, “When I was twenty I had already written 6 books and had a masters degree in history.” Now which one do you think understands the world more?

Sure, travelling allows you to see other cultures face to face and speak other languages in their true contexts. But doing this doesn’t tell you the history of countries in the complexity that a masters degree would acquire. An American can go to Germany and party for a year and another American can stay in America and read on German history for a year. Which one will understand that country more? Why is Germany the shape it is? Why do their vowels sound the way they do? Who was the first Holy Roman Emperor? Why does Germany use the symbolism they do in their flag and national treasures? Partying for a year in Germany won’t answer these questions, and if you happen to be partying with someone who can answer them, did you write the answers down and memorize them?

All in all, there is more than one way to understand the world. The American who stayed home to study won’t know many visceral things that the traveler will and the traveler won’t know many historical things that the student will. Perhaps combining these two learning styles together would create the best effect.

Thanks for reading. We have more to read.