One of the reasons we love to travel is talking with people from around the world to get different viewpoints. But
sometimes you don’t have to travel far to hear different perspectives.
If you know me, I do like to talk, ask questions and understand where people are coming from. Recently we were coming home from a trip and used Lyft to get from the airport to our house. The Lyft driver was a young, African American male who we will call “M”. I asked “M” how long he’s been driving for Lyft and how often he drives. We got into a discussion of how Lyft provides incentives to drivers and how he works only certain hours – mostly coinciding with the incentives. He gave the example that before and after Eagles football games, you can make a lot of money driving for Lyft.
Then I asked our “M” what he did when not driving for Lyft. Turns out he’s in the military, serving at a local air force base. He flies the very large Cargo planes and is has an aeronautical engineering degree. Since he was in the military and a big Eagles fan, I asked him what his opinion was of the NFL controversy surrounding kneeling during the national anthem.
Viewpoints on Freedom
He said that he personally always stands for the national anthem. But the reason he’s in the military is to defend our freedoms. And one freedom in particular he’s proud to defend is freedom of speech. So he fully respects any player’s actions as long as they are not hurting others. He’s not offended by the NFL players – rather he’s inspired by them because they are practicing one of the things he’s fighting for. Now that’s a different viewpoint than I’ve heard before. Here’s someone that relates to both the NFL players AND NFL owners.
Viewpoints on business
As we were talking he said his mom was an international lawyer so I asked him why he hadn’t gone into the legal profession. He said he considered it but is more interested in business. He’s currently enrolled at Harvard Business School in a part time program and so he visits Cambridge Mass once every few months. One of his perspectives was that many of his classmates had known each other or at least had very similar Ivy League undergraduate experiences. He had not and so he found it a bit more difficult to “compete”. Of course his engineering background had served him well so far. This was also a different perspective than what I typically hear.
So what does all this have to do with travel? Had we not been traveling we would not have run into “M”. He was not only fun to talk with but gave me optimism with respect to future generations. A Lyft driver, a Harvard business school student, and an active air force member, “M” certainly had different viewpoints than I’m used to hearing but was respectful of those that disagreed with his positions. He was well reasoned (though still young). Traveling inevitably puts us in a position to hear different viewpoints.
Are you seeking out new viewpoints?
When you travel do you actively seek out new viewpoints? Over the years most of us have learned to keep our political viewpoints to ourselves – lest we offend someone that we don’t really know well. But sometimes it fun to ask someone who clearly has a different background what their viewpoints are. And sometimes if you just listen, they will tell you regardless. Several examples come to mind:
- The German mayor of a small town told me his views on immigration
- The Moorean (near Tahiti) local who described her viewpoints on tourists and trust
- The Brit who couldn’t understand Americans loyalty to flag and country
- The French tour guide that exuded a very different work / life balance than I’m used to
- The Aussie fellow passengers that talked about their viewpoints on political corruption.
Travel – a chance for new viewpoints and perspectives
Traveling is a great opportunity to get different viewpoints. And I’m convinced that the more we understand other viewpoints, the more we can make a positive contribution to the world.
So why travel? To improve the world – of course! Well, at least to understand how others think and behave.
Looking for new experiences, destinations and maybe even some new viewpoints? Call a great travel agent for some advice and counsel. We can point you to the right types of trips and the alternative destinations and suppliers that you just might not have thought about. At least not until you consider a different viewpoint.