I am more than happy to admit that I’m first in line to mock our American cousins when I hear stories about their views on the outside world and their insular take on the planet earth beyond their own shores. 54% of Americans have never left the States and 36% don’t have passports. I know that this xenophobic view of a country with more than 320 million people is irrational and incorrect but it is always convenient to look down on others instead of taking a long hard look at yourself.
Although I see myself as a pretty worldly person who for the best part is happy to go anywhere at anytime, on reflection, I am not sure that this is true. For the best part I don’t think I am alone here and I wonder if we are honest with ourselves how many of us are genuinely ‘life’s explorers’ beyond an annual 2 week pilgrimage to wherever is the current holiday hotspot. How many of us can claim to be daily or weekly explorers of locations and places out with your local vicinities. I always find it amusing (sad) when English people claim proudly that they have never visited Scotland but would never admit to not having been to Paris.
There is nothing wrong or unexpected about our lack of adventure or inquisitiveness day to day but how easy might it be to go off piste more regularly and to explore places that otherwise might be perceived as uninteresting or uninspiring. The real reason that this is important is that our insular lives mean that we have very little genuine empathy or understanding of others and what their lives look and feel like. It is all too easy to listen to the news or read a report about what is going on around us without fully understanding how these parallel worlds affect our own.
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