I believe in adventuring close to home. But what about expanding our minds? And gaining a wider perspective on global events? Don’t we need to engage in extensive international travel in order to understand the world?
First, I have travelled internationally several times in my life and I admit to wanting to do so again. I think that travel can be valuable, but its value to individuals (usually wealthy individuals) should always be weighed against potential negative impacts on local cultures and the environment. I am not here to police travel, but I want to present reading as an alternative to airplanes, an alternative that is accessible to those who can’t travel due to finances, disability, family and work responsibilities, or personal conviction.
There was a time when reading was the primary means of global exploration available to the average person. Even today, only 5% of the world’s population has ever flown on an airplane. To say that human beings must travel far from home in order to be intelligent, compassionate, and “well-rounded” is preposterous. Literacy, not frequent flyer miles, is the key to cross-cultural understanding.
What then should we read? Read fiction, memoir, poetry, and blogs written by people from other countries, cultures, and generations. Read history. Read about the ecology and geology of other regions. And don’t forget to write. What is unique about your home? What can you share with others that will help foster mutual understanding?
Local adventure plus global exploration through reading equals a well-rounded adventurer!
What one book will you commit to read this month?