Real-Life Inspiration: The Importance of Cultural Experience
Everyone knows traveling is fun. It helps us to break away from the routine of our everyday lives and grants us a brief reprieve from stressful responsibilities (once we make it through the traumatic experience that is airport security, that is). But the most important and enriching facet of traveling is the way it opens our minds by exposing us firsthand to diverse cultures. It’s no secret that Americans tend to have a notoriously hard time thinking outside of our cultural bubble. But in the words of author Wade Davis, “The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.” Somebody who never gives themselves a chance to see the world through a diverse array of lenses completely misses out on all it has to offer them. Imagine eating the same meal every day of your life. It’s palatable, but wouldn’t you get sick of it? What if your favorite food is one you’ve never allowed yourself the opportunity to try? The reality is, if you stay in the same place for your entire life, you are doing exactly that. You are limiting yourself to the finite set of experiences that your environment can provide to you, when an infinite number of opportunities await you just beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone. Recently, I went on a trip to Ireland with my family. From staying overnight in a supposedly haunted castle to trying my hand (pretty unsuccessfully) at the Irish national sport of hurling, I got to experience a new culture completely different from my own. In addition to having an amazing time, I found that, as an artist, I actually drew a lot of inspiration from the things I saw and did while in Ireland. Readers, have any of you traveled recently? What were some of the most interesting things you did or experienced while abroad? Share your favorite stories in the comments below!