You are not traveling for people to see you.
Every place you visit is like a surprise package to be opened;
Untie the strings with an expectation of high adventure.
Visit people and places with reverence and respect for their traditions and way of life.
Travel with an open mind,
Leave your prejudices at home.
Travel with curiosity,
It is not how far you go,
But how deeply you go that mines the gold of experience.
~Old Spanish Proverb
I found this lovely philosophy the first time that I went to Spain 30 years ago. I was taking a group of my high school students on a study tour of France and Spain. These are two countries with very different cultures, climates, architecture, traditions and languages that sit right next to each other geographically. I remember thinking, ignorantly, that I did not particularly even want to go to Spain because it was probably just like Mexico. How dumb is that? I did not even know how lovely and interesting Mexico was because I had only been to 2 border towns.
Once I arrived in Spain I fell in love with its people, and the varied landscapes that we traveled through. It felt like I could be on a farm in the American west, then I saw the vineyards climbing the hillsides to meet the silvery grey olive trees, which gave way to white washed villages tumbling down from the crown of the mountain. I was humbled by the beauty of the land and the kindness of the people.
But most of all I learned to never judge a country or a person by pre-conceived prejudices. We will always be wrong, at least in some ways. Why not step innocently and expectantly into a new culture, giving and receiving the benefit of the doubt? The lessons of this proverb set the standard for how I have decided to travel through life.
It has become clear that one of the great secrets of life is how differently, yet how similarly, everyone experiences an event. Whatever you carry with you emotionally affects your attitude, your attitude determines how you see the world, and that determines how the world sees you and treats you in return. See the world and its people with love, curiosity, respect and humility. You will never be sorry.