Many dream of traveling the world, but what do you do when you actually get there? Andrew Solomon, journalist and author of Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change: Seven Continents, Twenty-Five Years, shares his thoughts, as an experienced world traveler, on the mindset we should bring with us to a foreign country.
Solomon emphasizes traveling with an open mind. While you should learn as much as possible about a culture before you visit, you should also be prepared to have your assumptions challenged when you see what it’s actually like. He also encourages travelers to make connections and build relationships with the people they visit, to keep from becoming a tourist watching a show. The only way to travel, he says, is to think about reciprocity, giving something back whether in the form of a relationship, information, participation, or generosity.
By becoming involved in cultural events, the traveler can create bonds of friendship and learn to understand a new culture. Solomon says that the people you are visiting are just as anxious to learn about you as you are about them. Not learning about a foreign culture can also have serious consequences, as Solomon demonstrates with a story of the Vietnam War. He also challenges the assumption many Americans have that all liberated people want democracy by default. By getting outside of the familiar, people can learn about who they are and what it’s like to live in a different country. These two things, Solomon says, could likely help resolve a lot of the diplomatic problems we face today.
To purchase a copy of Solomon’s book, visit the links below.
- Andrew Solomon, journalist and author of Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change: Seven Continents, Twenty-Five Years