I am a big believer of love. True love, familial love, love for friends, love for a higher being, all love. I even have the word “love” tattooed on my arm! That’s how big of a believer I am! I believe in kindness and giving more than we take. Growing up, I started writing about “love” (or my idea of it) at a young age. I think my family was a bit worried, saying that I was talking about things I was too young for. It got me in trouble a few times, actually, when I wrote poems about finding true love. Hah, I wish I had some to show y’all!
But, that feeling I had in the pit of my stomach never subsided. Love has always been a big component in my actions. It’s the fuel that lights the fire and something I could go on and on about. Travel opens me up to receiving and giving more love than I could have imagined! I have friends scattered around the world, with different opinions and different cultures. I have “adopted” families in Spain that show me unconditional love and care! This “love” I experience daily makes me hopeful. It gives me strength, it fuels my passion, and it lets me believe that love trumps hate. Travel can teach us how our love will trump hate.
Ethnocentrism is the belief that your culture is better than another person’s culture. When we travel, we are outside of our comfort zones and in a completely new environment. International travel puts us in awkward situations, anxious situations, and the inevitable feeling of loneliness. Sometimes, we start to compare our cultures to a different culture, saying things are weird or strange. That, is ethnocentrism. When we start believing that one culture is greater than another, or comparing one culture to another, we start feeding into fear and ignorance.
Y’all, let me just let you know that ignorance is NOT bliss, it’s just
damn ignorance. But ignorance also thrives on fear and prejudice! The more I travel, the more I realize that to learn from cultures, and people, I need to be humble. Travel teaches me that love trumps hate, and although one culture can be EXTREMELY different than my own, I need to learn to respect it nonetheless.
Travel teaches me to be empathetic. Although, I definitely consider myself an overly empathetic person, it still teaches me that my heart can be BIGGER than what it is now! I see just how privileged I am when I travel to other countries. I’m spoiled, have been spoon fed my information, and don’t have to work to provide for my entire family. It’s taught me that I have it
damn fucking good, compared to others who fight every day for the rights that I so often take for granted. Travel has made me fall in love with places and a feeling of freedom, but has also broken my heart in numerous ways.
The empathy that I learn while being “on the road”, walking through the streets, and befriending someone from a different country has ultimately taught me we learn from each other. Empathy allows me to put myself in someone else’s situation and learn from it. It teaches me how I can create change for the better. My empathy helps me understand that, because of my privilege, it’s my duty to make differences for others who don’t have access to do so.
While being abroad, I met families that welcomed me into their homes like I was their daughter, and I’ve met others who’ve stared and pointed at me. I am familiar with micro aggressions to my race and ethnicity, even within the United States. My first reaction is to be angry, get upset, and shut them out. Through my experiences, I now know that attacking back doesn’t get me very far. Instead, I welcome questions and choose discussion over anger. It pains me, y’all, when people point at me and yell “chink” or pull their eyes back to make fun of my almond shaped eyes. But, it pains me even more when I fight back and leave angry and flustered. Hate and anger cannot beat hate and anger. Love trumps hate, so while I let my pride take a backseat, I welcome conversations and questions about my ethnicity.
I believe that to truly travel and appreciate the journey, we need to do it with an open mind. The act of traveling should be followed with an open mind! Once we leave our home countries, we will be put in situations that we probably wouldn’t have experienced had we not left. Travel has taught me to keep an open mind in everything that I do, give people the benefit of the doubt, and learn. It’s taught me that although I don’t understand something, doesn’t mean that I should blow it off. It’s taught me that respect for something I don’t understand is just as important. When I have a closed mind about people, cultures, countries, or even FOOD, it doesn’t let me understand and ultimately grow!
Love Trumps Hate
Y’all, if you get anything from my blog, I want to inspire, empower, and give you something to think about. Travel heals me, teaches me, and introduces me to new concepts that I didn’t think were possible! On each trip I take, I meet locals, expats, and other travelers who have warm hearts and are eager to learn. It’s made up for all of the assholes I also meet, who make comments about my ethnicity and my gender! There is good out there, and when I travel, I’m reminded that the human race craves connection. In order to make sure MY love trumps my “hate” or ignorance, I am always aware of ethnocentrism. I keep my empathy at hand and I keep an open mind.
*Although these are things that I learned while traveling, I think these three points are also important for our day to day lives.
14 thoughts on “How Travel Teaches Us That Love Trumps Hate”
Yes! I always thought I was humble (does that make me arrogant for thinking this? lol) or at least, humble “enough”. But, after traveling a bit more and interacting with so many different cultures and walks of life, I realized that I am not as humble as I thought. You’re right though, we should be a bit less defensive when people have certain stereotypes of us because sometimes – they really don’t know.
We did! I think we talked about it briefly through Instagram and it was nice to connect and share that moment together. Wow, I am so sorry about the things that you’ve experienced, it reminds me a lot about my own experiences traveling through Europe. I even had friends who called me the “chinita” (in Spanish it means: “little Chinese girl”) as a term of endearment. I told them it was rude, and that I’m not Chinese. They told me it was a joke, but I really had to sit down and explain to them that although THEY may say it in a nice way, there are a lot of people who scream it at me in a degrading way.
I’m still trying to figure out how to respond in a polite way, as well. The smiling kindof helps, but I realized there’s no point in trying to be funny or polite if someone knows they’re being disrespectful (Sassy Cassandra is out to play!)
Yes, for sure! I love trying to learn new languages and wish I had started earlier. I think when I was a kid, I was so wrapped up in all the normal things “middle school” and “high school” kids worry about that I really didn’t break out of my shell until college. Now, I feel like I can do what I want without worrying!
Thank you Jenn and Ed! (: I totally agree with you that knowledge definitely trumps ignorance, and it’s also so important to do your own research these days considering all of the “alternative facts” we have looming around hahahaha! But your comment really rung true with me and I appreciate it! You’re both right, there are only two choices in the world, and not everyone chooses wisely, but we have to accept people regardless and serve them with faith, hope, and some love!
Thank you for sharing this positive energy! I am so tired seeing my social feed filled with all the anger for the difference races ever since last year. I think for me, being humble plays a big part when I’m traveling. That means putting myself OFF the center, keeping in mind that we are all equal regardless of race and nationality, and being less defensive when people have certain stereotype of us. That mindset opens up channel for communication 🙂
Dang girl, what a great piece- exactly what the world needs right now. I think we talked about this before, how grateful we are for our parents for giving us the life we have today and how the less fortunate are often more content and grateful for how little they have. We do feel like our hearts are a little bigger, minds more open, and souls wiser every time we come home from traveling. Interesting point you raised about micro aggression. It wasn’t until I started traveling that i started experiencing this… A group of kids in Amsterdam yelled “China China go back to China”, the locals in Guatemala and Belize kept saying “konnichiwa”, and people in Asian countries would almost always ask “what ARE you”, even in Taiwan where I was born! Smiling and answering them politely leaves me feeling really uncomfortable. I’ve yet to figure out how to best respond to these awkward situations. I totally agree that these three points should definitely be applied in every day lives, and by everyone- travelers and locals alike.
I totally get you, as I feel the same way. I guess that’s also what makes me love traveling and wanting to learn new languages. Trying to understand different cultures and their perspectives on life is something that fascinates me. Glad to know we have something in common!
Loved this piece Cassandra. We absolutely believe that love trumps hate. More over, knowledge trumps ignorance. The more you travel, the more you know. Your mind opens up to new ideas and new ways to view the world. You realize how much of what you think you know is really just assumptions piled onto illusions. We you dig down to the core.. I mean deep down into the pit of your existence you realize how fragile these beliefs can be. The deeper and more interconnected the web of lies and self deceit spreads, the more entangling it becomes. The more every little movement outside of your hobbit hole snares you until your so tired of fighting you crawl back into your hole.
The answer it love, exploration, discovery and knowledge. It might hurt at first to cast of the shackles of misconception. You might have to squint in the sun when you take off the blinders but in the end, it is all worth it. There are only two choices in this world – love or hate. Life or death. Not everyone chooses wisely but it is impossible to live without breathing in fresh air.
Thank you, Dave, that really means a lot and so kind of you to say!! Seriously, I read your comment and was taken aback by the compliment! Glad that we also connected on the internet (and parents used to say making friends over the internet was dangerous… LOL) I hope all is well with you in Asia! Thank you again for your kind words!
I completely agree, the more open we are to learning and experiencing different cultures and different personalities, the more we learn to love each other and ourselves a bit more. It sounds so spiritual and far-fetched, but I really believe this to be true!
Thank you, Flo! (: It always sounds cliche to me to say “travel changes lives”, because lots of things can change your perspective and your life hahaha but I know for a fact travel makes everyone a bit more open minded (at least I hope!)
I’ve gotta say I’m humbled and a bit awed by your thoughts and skills with written word Cassandra. A huge number of blogs I see are just producing what amounts to meaningless fluff that’s easily passed over. But this post had me hanging on to every word. The fact alone that concentrate and meditate on love so deeply says enough in itself. I’m glad we connected on the interwebs because I need more valuable writing like yours’ in my feed everyday.
I really love this article. Travel really opens up our eyes on other cultures and teaches us so much about being open to other people and experiences. I wish everyone could relate to this, maybe there would be more love in the world.
This is such wonderful food for thought, Cassandra! I couldn’t agree more that travel teaches us important lessons and gives us critical tools to think beyond ourselves and our own borders. Thank you for collecting your thoughts so eloquently to share!
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