Travel makes us citizens of the world. There are a lot of great things about travel, but one thing about travel is that it causes us to become more aware of the other people on the planet. Through travel we are able to make our minds expand past the petty nationalist tendencies all of our countries would like for us to focus on. When I cross the border into Mexico from the USA, I am very aware that I am in another country, but when I am sitting with new friends in Encenada having cold beers and talking about women next to a roaring fire, well, for some reason it doesn’t feel like I’m anywhere but where I am.
The borders are artificial. The lines on the map don’t exist on the actual ground. We try to keep ourselves separate, but in fact, we really are all one. The benefits of travel include opening you mind, opening your heart, and opening your eyes. One of the biggest eye openers is that moment when you realize that you might be a citizen of a particular country by birth, but you are a citizen of this world by life. We need to take this into account to understand why the problems that are faced on one continent or in one country are actually the problems that are faced in all countries and by all people.
The borders don’t actually separate us, the governments just want us to think they do. It’s easy to judge people when you are sitting in your house, watching your TV, going to your job, and trying to make ends meet. It’s much harder when you are helping to pick olives in Morocco, riding a bicycle in China, eating mangoes with the house girl in Indonesia, taking part in an Indian wedding, or dancing a tango with new South American friends.
When we become citizens of the world our passports no longer matter. We know that wherever we go, we have a right to be there. Wherever we are, we need to live our lives. Whoever we want to be, we can be. It’s true, travel makes us citizens of the world.