“Travel is the best teacher. The only way to an open mind is by taking a plane out into the open world.” ~ C Joybell C.
Not all those who haven’t travelled have closed minds, of course. Many who haven’t physically moved around the world have done so in spirit, learning from books and films, tv documentaries, lectures and by talking to those who have either come from elsewhere or been and come back.
But it’s also true that many of those who have travelled – and explored the places they have visited – have minds that are more open to the differences in the world around us.
They understand that there are a hundred, a thousand, tens of thousands of ways of living and have experienced for themselves the myriad different languages, histories and climates that result in different cultures and societies. They have seen the incredible variety of natural landscapes and man-made wonders. They have absorbed some of the ways of the world; and with that comes a greater understanding of their culture and society at home.
Although I’d visited Lübeck once before in the mid 1980s during a school language exchange to Germany during which my host family took me on a day trip there, it was only on a more recent visit to Lübeck that I took in quite how much history was centred in this small German city. The knowledge of its role in the Hanseatic League, of how its location and natural geography contributed to its eminence, and how the league influenced trading across Europe, gave me a stronger understanding of European history as a whole, and an insight into London’s part in that history. Of course, I also fell for the charming architecture, dating from mediaeval times. And the famous local marzipan made an indelible and delicious mark too!
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