I’ve got a long list of blogs I read. I don’t read them every day but I usually try to check in at least once a week. Some of the bloggers are authors or speakers I admire; others are pastors, writers, mamas and dads. Each one has a different perspective and that is something I crave.
I recently saw this quote attributed to Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of man and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” I immediately shared this on Facebook and had an interesting dialogue with a friend. He asked for an explanation of what I thought this meant. My take, as someone who has traveled extensively domestically but only once internationally, was that travel opens your mind. It puts you in situations and with people who are wholly unlike you and those you came from. It can be scary but enlightening and life-altering in many different ways. While he understood this, he also pointed out to me that sometimes it’s not a choice for people to travel. And he’s right, for a whole variety of reasons – financial, familial, etc. And that got me thinking that the broadening of our experience comes not only through physical travel to different places but also through travel of the mind. I know that sounds a bit crunchy granola but bear with me here.
I work at a large university. This semester, I participated in one of several small group discussions over a period of about six weeks; mine was focused on the topic of faith & spirituality in the university and our community. It brought together a group of about 15 staff and students, all of different ages, hailing from different hometowns across the country, all with very different views on faith and spirituality. Our facilitators very gracefully led us through some deep discussions about our feelings, perspectives and how that all impacts the broader community. The ultimate goal is to create a conversation that respects the differences of others and helps create an environment where folks more readily care and look out for one another. That seems simple as I type it but I think you can see where this might be a Sisyphean task in some instances, especially depending on the topic being discussed.
In thinking about my friend’s comment in light of this, I realized that “travel” isn’t limited to physicality. I travel in my mind with every book I read. I travel in every documentary or news story that captures my attention. All these things and so many more mold and shape my viewpoints on things in tandem with other factors such as my faith, how I was raised, where I “come from” and more. My viewpoints on things are constantly evolving and growing and I hope that never ceases.
Which brings me, finally (!) full-circle back to my lengthy blogroll. As I read through them and ponder them throughout the week, I have found one common thread: I am totally bummed out by bloggers who don’t blog. Especially those whose voice and perspective, perhaps different from my own, I really cherish.
While I don’t lump myself into the “cherished blogger” category by any stretch, I realized this week that I need to recommit to my little space here. I need to recommit to the tens of you who read it. I need to recommit to those who come looking for a perspective different than their own. And moreover, I need to recommit for myself because I really, truly enjoy writing.