Travel When You Are Young
Let’s get the usual suspects out of the way: You should travel when you are young because it is when you have the most independence and the least responsibility. Travel when you are young because grad school/law school/job opportunity will be there when you return. Travel when you are young because it is more difficult when you have children. Travel when you are young because you shouldn’t wait until retirement to enjoy your life. Travel when you are young because you will never regret the memories you make and the adventures that you have. Jeff Goins wrote a nice post about all this. You should read it.
How about this:
Travel in your youth to avoid being ignorant.
The world is very big and you are a very small part of that. Homogeny is not your friend. Travel abroad, and make friends that live differently, worship differently, and look differently than you do. It’s difficult to make bigoted and racist generalizations when you have connected with people and know their names.You already harbor stereotypes. When you are young and your worldview is being defined, travel to learn what these stereotypes are… and shatter them.
Soon, hearing the phrase “those people” will make your ears want to bleed. Accent imitations will irritate you indefinitely.
Travel to learn how little you know about other cultures, other faiths, and your own. Embrace feeling small.Go somewhere where few speak English. Struggle to be understood and find ways of crossing language barriers. When you return home, you will find empathy and patience for non-native speakers. You will marvel at those who are multi-lingual.
Give yourself the chance of becoming a more accepting and more loving adult. Travel young.