So here are a few reasons you might have a moral imperative, a theological reason, a “why” that resonates with you, with the good you want to help accomplish in the world, in your life, in your community.
1. You can’t meaningfully “Love” or care about people you have never met.
You’ve probably heard that you’re supposed to help the poor. But today, most of the poor don’t live near you. And humans don’t have the capacity to care about people or places or things they never physically encounter. Meaningfully caring about anyone requires some sort of human contact. Sure, you see a commercial and donate a dollar to starving people somewhere. But you don’t care about them like you care about the people you physically meet. It’s basically impossible. So if we’re going to get serious about World Peace, chances are high that the average person is going to need to meet more people.
2. Your day-to-day lifestyle has a direct impact on all kinds of people around the world – and it’s not always for the better!
The people making your stuff. Or the stuff you make stuff out of. You might disagree with the way people are treated while they’re making your stuff. As in, you wouldn’t want your family or neighbors to be treated like the people who are producing your food, etc. You get the idea – you have no idea how the systems you’re supporting are actually treating others on the other side of the world. You might have a moral imperative if you want to live a lifestyle that does not contribute to the impoverization of others.
3. The media gives an incomplete picture, especially for forming such important things as opinions and beliefs.
In many cases we listen to media personalities talk about things they don’t know about. People, places, ideas – they don’t know either. They haven’t traveled to Iran or Singapore or China. They haven’t actually read Karl Marx. And they don’t know Muslims or Pagans. This is a large reason we’re scared to meet the people in these places – we hear ideas about them from people who have never met them! So you might have a moral imperative to travel the world – simply because as traveling becomes the norm, media companies will be forced to hire people who know what they’re talking about, who have been to the places and met the people they talk about.
4. The “Experts” have been polluted by … something: money,the death of expertise, marketing (i.e. money), whatever.
The point? You might have a moral imperative to travel the world if coming to a solid understanding of something is of value to you. If we can’t trust experts anymore, and if we don’t have the time to read all the books that experts have written – which we might still trust, if only we had the time to read them – then we have to rely on the media. Which brings up number 3. Travelling the world is the best way to ensure a proper education on a topic in the shortest amount of time. Right, I mean, you’ll pick up Spanish more quickly if you study in Mexico or Spain. You’ll figure how to engineer a water well in Africa if you’re, well, in Africa! It’s part of why the best degrees in the world ensure their students travel a lot.
5. You have no idea what we’re actually doing to the environment – unless you go and see!
Polluted water starts to make sense when you encounter rivers that are polluted. This is the same idea as with other people – we have a hard time caring for things we never meet or encounter. Why would we care about the destruction of the forest if we have never met one?
6. If you want reach an understanding of “injustice,” “Good,” or “Evil.”
As a poor white person, I had (have) a certain understanding of what was just and what was not. It was not until I travelled to other countries, to other cities and communities that I began to understand that some of the things I wanted, or was brought up to want, meant inherently bad things for other communities and places I visited. A complete picture of “injustice”, of Good and Bad involves humans and the planet. And most of us, including myself, have an incomplete picture of these terms. As we travel more, as we engage those around us in the world, we gain a more robust understanding of Good and Evil, of justice and injustice.
7. If you want to understand the systems, the “way things work” in the world.
School is supposed to do this. And to an extent it does. But it’s hard to beat experience. Which is why travel to places without engaging them isn’t very useful (except for vacation, for rest, but who said anything about that?). Indeed, it’s the concept behind the internship – educate yourself broadly, sure, but get experience at doing some particular skill. As the world becomes more global the best leaders, the most successful people are simply those who understand the way the world works. The processes. The systems. The only way to understand how things work is to go and see. Ask questions. Learn to understand. If money is your “reason why”, your Good, your God, you might have a powerful moral imperative to learn how the world works. The wealthiest people today have travelled the world.
8. If you want to understand how the systems contribute to terms like injustice, good and evil.
Oh yeah, the systems in the world are playing a fairly large role in the terms “Good” and “Evil”. So once you start to figure out the systems – to make money or whatever – you will also start to realize how the systems do “evil” to some people and “good” to others. You could help to change the systems, then, so they do less “evil” to some. Or, good and evil might not be your thing. You could just figure the systems out to exploit them for yourself. That’s a moral imperative in its own right.
9. If you want to understand how to relate to “others” – those who are very different from you.
You know how to relate to the people in your community. You know how to relate to people who speak your language. And if you’ve gone to school or began an “education”, you might be starting to realize that education is mostly about learning to interact with other people who are different than you. Communication. It’s essential in any field. And we consider people “cultured” if they can interact with more than a few types of people. Travel, actually engaging people in other places, provides just this opportunity – only a traveler understands how drastically learning to interact with people around the world changes our perspective. In fact, learning to interact with “others” who are very different will change the way you interact with “others” who you’ve grown up with!
10. The people leading you have not been able to – which means everyone has a reason to Go and See for themselves!
This is simple. Travelling around all six continents of the world has not been the norm in the past. We simply have not had the technology to do it. Now that we have access to travelling the world, now that it’s affordable to anyone with the courage to leave their home, we have a moral imperative to travel the world if we want the next generations to be led by people who actually have experience with what they’re talking about, with the consequences of the decisions they’re making. If we aspire to leadership, may we be the types of leaders who have seen the world, who know the consequences of our actions on communities around the world.
12. If you want to help solve the world’s most pressing issues.
It’s a common problem, one that Google.org ran into while trying to have a “Google”-sized impact on the world’s most pressing issues. A major reason why Google’s non-profit arm did not (and in my opinion still has not) make giant strides in fighting things like extreme poverty or providing medical care to the least fortunate, despite having access to billions of dollars in Google’s for-profit resources and some of the brightest minds from the developed world, was a simple lack of familiarity with the world. Their people had not traveled the world. They had not gone to see. So they did not know how to help. If you want to help on a global scale, you have to go and see the globe. It’s that simple.
13. If you want to create value for your community (and other communities).
So if you’re trying to create real value in the world, value that maybe contributes less to global inequality and the oppression of the poor or minorities, you may have a strong moral imperative to go and see the world. And, if you’re just trying to capture the value that someone else has created (like, you know, working for someone else), you’ll be more valuable if you’re familiar with the way the world works.
So by now, if you have a moral imperative to travel the world, you’re probably wondering how you’ll do it. Pay for it. Actually travel. The answer is up to you. Travel any way you like. But we’ve been setting up routes around continents. We’ve been creating an adventure platform that makes traveling the world accessible to anyone. And, well, you just got a good dose of our theology, of our gospel, of what makes us come alive: going on adventures with friends around the world. That is our work. That is our movement, our purpose, our careers. We’re trying to work toward world peace. And though we don’t know what that looks like yet – we’ve noticed that one particular idea of what peace is, forced on others, well, it hasn’t had stellar results – we’re going to travel and collaborate and work and learn and have fun together until we do!
Oh, Where did number 11 go? Help us out by adding what you think should be number 11 in the comments section!