Discover more from 1, by Jonathan Yagel
1, #45 - Does travel make us better people?
On the work we can do from home — Estimated Read Time: 58 seconds.
Travel is often celebrated as not only enjoyable, but virtuous. See, for example, Mark Twain’s claim that “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” This week, though, I read an article claiming that modern travel (where we are tourists, despite our insistence to the contrary) is a means of personal validation rather than personal transformation.
Do you agree?
On the other hand: As much as I love travel—I’ve built my life around it, in many ways—I don’t think it’s inherently beneficial. Unfortunately, as with most things: The advantages require work. And in our modern society, I don’t know that the benefits historically associated with travel are best acquired through a trip.
So, yes, it makes sense to travel to reset mentally, or to escape the daily grind, or simply because you enjoy it: whether it’s seeing beautiful new locations, trying new food, or (it’s okay to admit it) validating your identity to yourself or others. But going somewhere else won’t automatically make you a better person. If you want to understand a different perspective, to connect with someone with a dramatically different life experience from you, or to appreciate our shared humanity despite cultural differences … a new, exotic locale might just be a distraction.
Can you start doing that difficult work from home?