I am a fortunate person. My children are grown; my home is paid for. I am pursuing my “mission chapter career.” That means I do what I do because it is my mission (and passion), not in order to clothe or feed myself or a family. And it means I can make trips to places on my “bucket list.”
Since 2008, I have made more trips than during my life to that point. I have been to India, Singapore, Vietnam (second time), Cambodia, Laos, Germany, China, Brazil, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Turkey. Earlier, I travelled in Europe, Africa, Peru, Thailand and South Vietnam. When I travel, what I have read in history books or on the news becomes more real. After I return home, the news from the places I have been grabs my attention more. I can picture in my mind the crowds in Delhi, Phnom Penh, Munich, Beijing, Shanghai, Cairo, Jerusalem and Istanbul – and people on the top of Kilimanjaro, at the Taj Mahal, on the Great Wall, in the Dead Sea and at the Great Pyramids. There are people walking about in all these places every day as I walk about in Colorado!
Everywhere there are so many people! The human race is enormous! I do not know if this is true for you; it is for me. When I am not thinking about the people in different cultures and places, I can lapse into the assumption that where I am is the center of the universe. I can forget how very diverse we are and how many people think and see the world differently than I do. Reading, travel, film and the news remind me. That makes me glad that my “mission chapter career” is about diversity and inclusion.
I am very North American centric in my work. That is what I know best. I focus on masculine-feminine differences and on generational differences in U.S. business. They are the forms of difference that I have experienced most. These are just narrow slices of the diversity in the human species. Appreciating these differences, though, can give us the perspectives and tools to appreciate all forms of difference. I may never be an expert in even one non-U.S. culture. I am not an expert on any of the world religions. My travels have made real to me the many people whose lives are so different from mine. My work opens me to appreciate these differences.
Share how your reading or travel has helped you understand and appreciate differences