There’s something that every good traveler needs to practice but seems to be in dwindling surprise in this divisive culture of ours. Open-mindedness. Too many people perceive openness nowadays as weakness, as being wishy-washy, but in reality, having a broader experience of the world is the only way to be mentally and emotionally strong. When traveling, it’s essential to be open minded when experiencing ideas and places beyond your immediate understanding if you want to truly enjoy your trips. So, what can you do to be open-minded?
Stop trying to win arguments
Who’s right and who’s wrong? If you really want to come out of arguments or debates feeling ‘victorious’, then you should give up on the idea of winning them in the first place. Learn to listen, to empathize with the other side, and to make it a collaborative experience of sharing and learning. Not everyone is going to be open to that, but that’s fine. It also helps you understand that there are simply some people whose viewpoints won’t shift through logic alone.
Engage yourself spiritually
Wherever you go, spirituality is a big part of people’s’ lives. Religion, superstition, philosophy, they are very important to the ways that people live. It’s good to engage in your own realm of spirituality before you look at others’. Get a 24 hour psychic reading. Open the pages of a holy text. Visit sacred sites and try to get the feeling of spirituality that the people who visit it out of genuine belief get Skepticism is healthy, but blind skepticism can sometimes put you in danger of being argumentative rather than respectful.
Keep culturally active
When you’re traveling, trying to experience at least a sliver of the local culture is essential. If you just stick to the places of natural beauty, the hotels, and the restaurants, you miss out on the real mental and emotional meat of a journey. If you’re traveling with kids, it’s important to help them to experience cultures, too, so they have a much better chance of growing up with a broader mind.
Read anything and everything
When traveling, we tend to have a lot of time where we need to amuse ourselves. Train rides, plane flights, airport waits. Books are the greatest way to while away your time, so try venturing outside your usual novelists the next time you go. Broaden your reading list with genres you’ve never tried before, writers from other countries, histories, philosophies, even fables. Reading books is one of the best ways to expand your thinking, period, so it’s always a good idea to take your reading into new territories.
Sometimes, the best way to be more open to others’ points of view is to spend time with them. When you see the good that people can do, it’s hard to hate them just because you don’t agree with all their ideas. You can do it while traveling, too, by volunteering abroad.
Standing strong against the tide of closed-mindedness isn’t always easy. Sometimes you have to tolerate and explore ideas that are wrong or even abhorrent to you. But without trying, you’re going to be walking through life and traveling the world with your eyes closed.