Travel broadens the mind

travel broadens the mind

Travel broadens the mind

I’ve been “home” for about a month and by home, I mean my home town of Mobile, AL. You may recall that Michael and I moved in with my Dad in August to save more money for our big move! I have come to a lot of realizations. I’ve been transported to an alternate universe, there is no other explanation!

I’m in an environment in which I don’t fit in anymore. I often feel out of place when I wear clothes that are NOT from “Southern Belle’s” boutique or that aren’t monogrammed from head to toe. (What is with that, seriously?!)

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I tend to choose local coffee houses over Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts because the coffee is better. I prefer espresso to drip coffee and “Mom and Pop” shops to chain restaurants EVERY TIME! You will not catch me drinking Bud Light, Miller Light, Michelob Ultra, or Coors Light, which is the beer of choice in the Southeastern USA. Instead, I will be happily sipping on my craft brewed porter, wheat, or stout. Travel broadens the mind.

 

I get frustrated by the politics of home. Women are admired for having babies yet are ostracized for breastfeeding in public. Moms are shamed into bathrooms and expected to have potato sacks over their heads while they feed their tiny humans. There are still debates surrounding whether a woman has actual rights over HER BODY. Never have men had to wonder if their penises were their property or not. Sorry to let you down guys, but your dick is just on loan and you haven’t paid your fine, time to give it back because it has been repossessed.

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Women are also viewed as unladylike when we cuss or bitch about the injustices we deal with, you know like unequal wages in the work place! Caitlin Moran’s book, “How to be a Woman” sums this sentiment perfectly! Can you believe it, there are still men who believe that a woman’s place is “in the household” not outside of it! Women are expected to stay at home with the kiddos and give up their beloved careers yet when the reverse is suggested, it is seen as “ridiculous” or “unthinkable”.

It is also an unpopular thought for the LGBTQ community to have the same rights as me, a heterosexual gal. If 2 men, 2 women, or 2 transgenders decide to commit their lives to one another out of love and honor, why shouldn’t they be allowed to? How is it hurting you? They should get the same titles and tax kickbacks as a married, straight couple. Let me take it one step further, if the above want to adopt a child, who was otherwise abandoned by this straight couple, then let them! Think of how #blessed that child will be to know unconditional love. “It’s wrong”, says society, yet a young career woman is “selfish” for not popping a kid out “sooner”. I don’t get this backward thought process.

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Having new tech gadgets, a house, 2 brand new cars, and 1 ½ kids by the time I am 30 is EXPECTED of me. (Umm, who asked me?!) Instead, I feel trapped when considering this lifestyle! In terms of what my ideal goals are, well it’s quite different from my Southern heritage. I believe education and wisdom are the keys to success in the future and that love trumps hate. I like my freedom of non-motherhood, my time spent with my husband and dogs, and my, yes, conceitedness. It is okay to admit that I am needy. (and if that sounds like a title of a book you’d enjoy, you should check out these 8 travel books!)

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I want to give my children all of me and frankly, that ain’t gonna happen if I must give up my dreams for them, now. How will I give them their best shot when my world views are solely of the USA’s and no other country? How will I love them fully if I blame them for my dreams not becoming reality? How will they know respect if they live in a culture that prides “white-maleness” over all other genders/races? I am not in denial to think I will have the secret to life figured out before children arrive; but I will not rush into motherhood based on a misguided timeline. Yep, travel broadens the mind.

 

In terms of travel, I want to go someplace new each year. I don’t want to visit the same vacation spot year in and year out and call that an adventure. I don’t agree that vacations abroad should be expensive, that is what travel hacking is for. I think my country, the USA, could be just as dangerous as visiting the UK, Europe, or South America. After being in Spain during the Barcelona attack, I can say that the city handled it brilliantly. While the USA was tearing itself apart from White racist bigots, this damaged and mourning city was already rebuilding. That is Europe for you. So, if you love to be your own person, try new experiences, and learn from cultures that are nothing like you, you should travel, NOW! (How’s that for an infomercial?)

I do love the South despite its misgivings. I love the simplicity in lifestyle and language. There are numerous farms and gardens abound meaning fresh produce is as easy to gather as dirt under your nails. I yearn for the richness of the air after a heavy rain on steamy asphalt or a stroll through fragrant flowers and honeysuckle bushes. Birds and squirrels prance about in unison awaiting worm and acorn harvests. Their songs wake me gently under the morning light. My favorite part of living here is how the sun gleams in the evenings as its rays trickle between prickly pine needles or ancient oak trees and how grass is illuminated into various hues of greens and yellows.

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So, why am I saying all of this? No, I am not trying to bash my hometown. Sure, every country has its own issues and successes and people’s opinions will vary everywhere. I know this. The more I journey, the more travel broadens the mind. I feel like I have worked so hard to be open-minded and accepting only to come “home” and see that nothing has changed. The South is stuck in a time warp of oblivious thinking. I live in a community that regards differences as shameful or something to be avoided rather than beautiful and a reason to celebrate. I am in the Bible Belt region yet the Word is misused and poorly represented. Love is praised only if it fits within a certain parameter. I want better for my city and region but old blood is hard to purify.

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I have learned countless lessons from the road and have seen what society could be like. Travel broadens the mind and my soul is set on fire when I see the way life can be here. I am thankful I see these issues now, when before I, too, was oblivious. I am thankful to be moving to Europe soon, so that I can learn and further challenge my belief systems, in hopes of rectifying my upbringing. There is beauty in being old-fashioned and traditional. The Rat Pack springs to mind! However, we must learn from our past mistakes if we are to create an ideal future for ourselves and those generations coming behind us! If this post “hits you the wrong way” that’s okay, growing pains hurt.

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I ask you, as I often as myself, how can we do better as a world?

Be Well and Travel Often!

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travel broadens the mind

About Author

Maegan and Michael are Adventurous Southerners who share their world journey and approach to living the travel lifestyle. You can expect humor and lighthearted banter blended with REAL travel stories and tips. Maegan is a registered dietitian, while Michael has an excerise science background, but both are outdoor lovers, and revel in the beauty of cultures unlike their own. Now, Maegan and Michael are working towards expat life through remote work. Join the adventure. Do you love to travel? Does your full time job or career prevent you from living the life you dream of? This is the duo to follow. Feel free to contact us if you have questions.

Comments

  1. What an honest and straightforward post! I’m loving this! A couple of years ago, we had the opportunity to move to the USA. As much as we loved being in certain cities, we left after a “test phase” of 6 months, because we both agreed that we’re not made to live in this country. I’m not saying that Europe is better, but we feel that there are more alternative lifestyles here than in the US. Since it’s pretty easy to travel around Europe, I think that many Europeans tend to do it quite often. And whenever we cross a border, we have to cope with (and are used to) different languages, mentalities, cultures, and even laws. Like you said: travel broadens our mind. So even if there are lots of people with whom we might not agree or who think differently, most of us end up accepting diversity. 🙂
    Mei from Travel with Mei and Kerstin recently posted…Château de Tanlay : first stop on our road trip through BurgundyMy Profile

    1. Maegan says:

      Thank for such an uplifting response! When I wrote this, I knew it wasn’t my most popular topic but felt it needed to be addressed. Travel has opened my eyes to so much in a social stance! I love Europe for all the reasons you listed above!

  2. Flo says:

    Thank you for your candor and for taking the time to write such a thoughtful piece! I hope that with time (and travel), more people broaden their way of thinking and treat our fellow humankind with a little more patience and kindness.

    P.S. I don’t understand the monogrammed outfits either.

    1. Maegan says:

      Thanks and I am so glad I am not the only one who doesn’t want her initials on her panties!
      Maegan recently posted…Travel broadens the mindMy Profile

  3. Aimee says:

    I totally agree with this – travel definitely broadens the mind and just really forces you to look at things from a different perspective – great post! Although I have to disagree with your choice in cafes (I know, I’m a slave to Starbucks and wish I could love Ma and Pa shops more but I’m addicted), I really do think that if people just left their circles a little more often, they’d care a little less about judging other people and making a fuss about OTHER people’s lives and focus a little more on enriching their own!

    1. Maegan says:

      That’s okay, Starbucks is easily accessible EVERYWHERE so I have to give in at times LOL. Yes, I agree that we should let people live their best versions of their life and cheer them on as we try to do the same!
      Maegan recently posted…Travel broadens the mindMy Profile

  4. Gabby says:

    good for you for exploring and challenging your hometown and your ideals. I’m sure that your new views are probably not always accepted by some of the people form home but as you say, travel enriches your view of the world. I’m from California and although I think the views in the south are more extreme than in California, i still get curious looks when I tell people I’m not married after dating my boyfriend for 8 years (living with him abroad for 7). Keep doing your thing and never doubt yourself!

    1. Maegan says:

      Thanks for the encouragement, it was a difficult post to write in a way! BTW How awesome that you and the significant other started your life together abroad! That’s where it’s at!
      Maegan recently posted…Travel broadens the mindMy Profile

  5. cassy says:

    You should try out the west coast. I lived in Greenville, SC for over a year, and honestly have never preferred my hometown of Seattle more. A lot of the injustices you are talking about that are pretty unique to the USA, like our backwards ideologies regarding womens’ and LGBTQ rights kind of just……go away. I’ve never seen a woman attacked for breast feeding in public. We have gay strip clubs, “gay” night clubs that are frequented by CIS and gender fluid persons equally, rainbow sidewalks and love celebrations. Our BLM movements spurred on WHITE ALLY movements, and I’m the proud owner of a TRUMPLER t-shirt, if that tells you anything about Seattle life. And just outside the city, we’ve got the farms you are talking about. These farmers bring their goods into the city to sell at farmers markets 1-2 times weekly….and you sure as hell won’t find plastic bags, or even plastic straws and cutlery anymore. officially banned.

    I guess my point is- even domestically, you’re mind can be expanded if you are surrounded by enlightened individuals.

    1. Maegan says:

      I absolutely agree! I am DYING to see Seattle! We were in Portland this past March and I fell in love. You can definitely expand your “world” views by hanging with an enlightened crowd!
      Maegan recently posted…Travel broadens the mindMy Profile

  6. Tendelle says:

    Very true! I had a lot of the same thoughts when I spoke with people back at home. But most people are able to appreciate & respect my life choices, and I do the same to theirs.

    1. Maegan says:

      It is an interesting conversation to have, especially with your life long best friends and inner circle.
      Maegan recently posted…Travel broadens the mindMy Profile

  7. hahah loved this post! All the GIFS were so on point too. Thanks for the inspo hun…. love when I find like minded and real travellers

    1. Maegan says:

      Anytime girl! I try to keep it real…
      Maegan recently posted…Travel broadens the mindMy Profile

  8. julz says:

    all these are reasons why I am an expat and like it that way. I could never go ‘home’ – not that I really have one anyway – my parents live in different countries from where I was or where I grew up. Nothing like being out and about to get perspective on life!

  9. This was refreshing to hear because I feel the same since traveling a bit here and there. I live in a town where everyone is married and has children. When I have to go to meetings everyone looks at me for not understanding their position due to not having children or a partner. I love cooking more and more since traveling, so when I get to try local market food and fresh it makes me happier. I
    I can completely understand you. 🙂
    Farah Al Zadjaly recently posted…New York Bakery Co Bagel Before Global Energy RaceMy Profile

    1. Maegan says:

      I am so glad I am not alone in this!

  10. Daniela says:

    I agree with you on quite a lot of the points you’ve made. A society which promotes materialism and consumerism does not tolerate people who have other priorities, unfortunately. And having kids should be also a personal choice not something one would because it is expected from them.

    1. Maegan says:

      Absolutely! People will prioritize what matters to them.

  11. Aubrie says:

    I really thought this was an interesting piece to read and I agree that travel really broadens your horizon so much and those who have not traveled away from home will never fully understand certain things like those that have.

    1. Maegan says:

      I agree 100%

  12. Dinh-Long says:

    I like the rhythm and the honestly of your post. You just wanna read everything as quick as possible! Good that you have this opportunity to move to Europe; will see how much it changes you and broadens your mind!

    1. Maegan says:

      Travel is the best education! Thank you for reading!

  13. Zara says:

    A very well written post! Travel definitely helps to open your mind t o other ways of dping things and makes you see the world in a different way.

  14. Carmelatte says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!

    Carmelatte

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