Quick: Why did the Pilgrims come to America?
If you don’t live in Boston I bet you said it was for religious freedom. Ask a Bostonian who knows his or her history though and they’re likely to tell you that it was really for economic freedom.
Or what about the reason that we had the Tea Party where we dumped somewhere north of $800k (present day value) of tea into the Boston harbor?
It was because “taxation without representation” was immoral, right? Maybe…I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that the “patriot smugglers” of the time had lots of illegally imported Dutch tea which would’ve went unsold if people bought the British tea (which, even with the tax was less expensive than the Dutch tea).
It’s interesting how ones perspective can shape the way we interpret “facts” as absolute truth.
I met a British guy that happened to be staying in the same hostel as I was and as we were talking about the Freedom Trail he made the comment that after the fourth or fifth stop it got a little tiring to hear the American rendition of events which, of course, portray the British as the bad guys. I made the snide comment that that’s what happens when your country used to be in control of half of the known world. What he then said was shocking: he said that all of the men that were around during the time weren’t patriots! American heroes maybe, but it was impossible for them to be patriots because there was no United States of America. They were British citizens who were being quite unpatriotic to Great Britain. So unpatriotic, in fact, that they were actually traitors! I had never thought of things that way.
This is part of the reason that I travel: I never enjoyed history in school because it seemed so distant and lacked authenticity. There’s only one way to learn new things and that is from mistakes. Smart people learn from the mistakes of others while less intelligent people have to make the mistakes for themselves. The problem comes when the people that write our history and provide these shortcuts in understanding life lessons have a bias toward portraying themselves in a certain light. Someone once said that there are two reasons for everything we do: the one that we tell people because it makes sense and the real one. Humans are creatures of emotions and thus emotions are the basis from which all-else stems. The American Heroes of that time were the ones that recorded history, and thus their biases are present in the lessons that it teaches.
But traveling to new places allows me to experience the people and culture for myself. It helps me clarify the lessons that I’ve been taught by either verifying them as true or casting them into a deeper shade of doubt. Traveling broadens and deepens one’s perspective, which means that it’s possible to see things in new ways. Life lessons unravel themselves, and oftentimes I find myself surprised by what they reveal.
I encourage everyone to travel more. It helps expand your intuition by giving you experiences in different environments!