Many of the views and stereotypes we hold toward other nations, and their ill feelings toward us, are often not a result of REAL interaction but stem from media hype or antiquated views that never got resolved. By going to these places you get to spend time with the authentic individuals and see for yourself how these people are. Someone famously said that all stereotypes are based in some truth but I would counter that argument by saying some of those truths are outdated and exaggerated to the point of being disturbing. We recognize these things here in the states where we face some of the highest levels of racial tension and disdain for others. Most of it stems from lack of experience with members of another group. In my younger days I was told stereotypes about white, hispanic and gay people that I have found to be untrue in the interactions I’ve had. Many in south florida have preconceived notions about people from the Dominican Republic, Haiti or Cuba perhaps based on limited interactions but when you immerse yourself in the worlds of these people you will often learn that they are just like you.They care about family, their religion and maintaining a peaceful nation. Often they are thrilled to interact with people from the U.S. and have their questions answered. Through travel we learn how we are all connected through historical events and the affects of modern day political decisions. It’s truly refreshing to hear people who come from a seemingly poorer country than america talk about the pride they have in their country and the resolve they have to be great, regardless of the circumstances. It helps to put some of our first world problems(low cell battery, waiting in lines) into perspective
2.Beats the hell out of hitting South Beach….again
As a long time lover of the idea of coming to Miami, I get it. When you live in a city that doesn’t have its own ocean it’s natural to want to flock to the water when you have a few extra days off from work, but lets face it, Miami Beach is played out and overpriced. Your money is better spent in Puerto Rico(NOT actually another country) Cartagena Colombia or Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic where your money goes further, and is appreciated by the locals. As overpriced as Miami is now you can actually find full vacation packages that are cheaper than hitting a U.S. city. From personal experience I can tell you that customer service is on another level in those three places and you can eat authentic restaurant quality food for the price of fast food in the states! I love the taste of authentic foods, prepared without adding an american edge to it. Go to south beach all you’re going to get is overpriced drinks and the same pic that everybody else posts of the 2 Corona bottles upside down in a giant margarita. Lets think bigger than that folks!
3.It Opens Your Eyes to New Opportunities
This is a subject I heard about previously but had to travel abroad to see for myself. Many times we look at the dire jobs situation that leads many people to migrate to the States as a reason to stay away from certain countries. As a south Floridian I can tell you that the majority of the Central and South Americans that migrated to the states did so to provide a better life for their families, but the part that we are never exposed to are the opportunities in various industries that we might be qualified for in those countries. Lets be real, SOME of the people that come here don’t posses the skill or education to perform the limited jobs in their home country, but in America there are TONS of jobs for those same unskilled laborers. AND they pay enough for them to support their families. So it make sense for an unskilled worker to come to the states. But there are also skills that we posses via our degrees or simply the language we speak that make us more that qualified to work and thrive in some of theses same countries
These opportunities expand tremendously for the entrepreneur. For years major corporations have utilized the overseas market for their cheaper resources and ease of establishment in other places where resources are plentiful, workers ore present but initial finance was missing. There are tons of stories of retirees going to Costa Rica, Panama, Thailand and other places and starting a business with their retirement funds. Not retiring anytime soon? Cool your degree or skill set could be extremely valuable in the workforce somewhere else and because the cost of living is lower, you can enjoy a higher quality of life.
4.It’s a Healthy Addiction
This may not apply to all people but since my first trip out of the country I’ve been eager to regularly interact with new people, see new lands, and capture new flags. For me there was an initial fear that was based on that natural anxiety we feel when doing something new. It’s natural. But conquering that fear not only showed my ability to allow growth, it gave me motivation to regularly seek CULTURAL growth. Every time I return from a new location I feel like I gone on the field trip all school kids dream of. I come back and research the statues and buildings that I saw and lookup the the stories of how the regions within the county developed. My thirst for education has grown tremendously from traveling. I always get a major rush when the pilot is making his approach and I can clearly see the buildings and streets of this new land I’m about to enter. It is at this moment that my new adventure becomes a reality.
5.It’s Cheaper Than Ever
A common excuse I hear given is that ‘its too expensive’. I gotta call BS on this excuse because I make less money that many of these people but i manage to take a few trips per year. I find great deals on flights by using skiplagged, skyscanner as well as looking for sales directly on the airlines websites. Sometimes to catch these deals you have to have some flexibility in your schedule but it’s worth it to experience new sights and foods. Another excuse I hear from my married friends pertains to it being difficult to align schedules with your spouse. My reply is always the same, ‘If its a priority you’ll make a way, if not you’ll make an excuse.’ Hopefully the aforementioned pluses have illustrated why more African Americans need to make it a priority to travel. What better way to bond with your spouse that by watching a romantic sunset in Rio Brazil or Santorini Greece.
I’m not trying to say that there aren’t cool things to experience here in the states and if you work a stressful 9-5 like most people, ANY vacation is a good one. But if you want to do more than relax, if you want to grow and experience life at the level that the creator intended, you have to see what the world has to offer. As a kid I used to look at the globe in my house with all its oceans and massive chunks of land and think to myself ‘this is a gift from God and to only experience a small portion of it is an insult to my potential.’ Don’t pass up an opportunity to grow intellectually because of unfounded fears, be great and see the WORLD!