To begin with, being exposed is relative. It’s hard to define the term “being exposed”. For the purpose of this write up, being exposed means a broad knowledge of places, people’s culture, a way of life, and a wholesome sense of decorum in mannerisms, behavior, relations with people, orientation and mindset. Whether or not travelling far and wide, and visiting different countries and places translates to being exposed is what is being deliberated here.
YOU CAN BE WELL TRAVELED BUT NOT EXPOSED
When I was much younger, I had a classmate and neighbor from a pretty much financially advantaged home. He would spend all holidays in another country with souvenirs and pictures to relate all the tales of his awesome experiences. He eventually relocated to school for some time.
Over the years however, I watched him and found myself comparing him to other people who weren’t so “privileged”. He was loud in speech, lacked any sense of respect for people and was quite lousy as a person. I wondered if all those vacations and years out of the country had a negative impact on his character.
There are a number of people (like my “privileged” classmate) that are well travelled, have worked in different continents, schooled in different regions, had diverse extended family members but lack exposure. DISCLAIMER: I am not advocating throwing away your culture. Its admirable when well travelled people are rooted in their culture, such as languages and certain decent traditions.
YOU CAN BE EXPOSED AND NOT WELL TRAVELLED
I have also met some young people in recent times who unlike my “privileged” classmate, were not born with silver spoons but worked their way through life. Yet, they can be said to be exposed due to their vast knowledge, attitude, mindset, and overview of life. They understand other people’s culture, they have an amazing imagination, they speak eloquently and are always willing to learn new things.
Some of them have never even travelled out of Nigeria, but when they talk you will think otherwise. They read books, watch movies, keep up to trends of technology/science and maximize the internet use to enlighten their minds. They only lack the firsthand experience of touring the world. This makes me come to the conclusion that exposure starts and ends with the mind!
EXPOSURE STARTS AND ENDS WITH THE MIND
You are liberal minded because you choose to. Speaking and treating people well is a conscious choice. You learn about places not just by visiting but also by reading and being observant to information concerning those places.
I love travelling and I have come to find that it is a passion of mine. People tend to link my level of exposure to the fact that I am well-travelled. I however do not totally agree even though there is some truth therein. As much as my travels have influenced my level of exposure, I do not to think it is solely responsible for my little level of exposure. Some of my friends have the opinion that I am exposed because:
- I enjoy travelling
- My perspective of gay marriage (as a Nigerian) is different: “Hate the sin, not the sinner”. I must confess that it is extremely difficult to view separate both. (I’m of the opinion that this is influenced by my knowledge and my understanding of the Bible; However, I am not saying being gay is right)
- It’s my belief that men and women are different but should have equal rights (Equity)
- I more often than not know a little about other people’s culture
- The adrenaline junkie side of me
- Communicating and interacting with people from different cultures comes natural (I have a number of non-tribal and non-Nigerian friends)
- My endless thirst for new adventures.
I must state clearly that these things are not solely to be attributed to my travels. As a matter of fact, I only started travelling on my own about three to four years ago. It’s a combination of conscious self-development, background, relationships with people and a consistent willingness to learn. My exposure is as a result of my diverse research on different cultures, the movies I have watched, keeping myself abreast of current affairs even though surprisingly I am not so vast with Nigerian current affairs (but I am seriously working on it). I believe the major factor that influenced my thirst for knowledge was a huge, colorful kid’s Encyclopedia my mum bought when I was younger. I think that was when I started developing the zeal to learn more about the world with an open mind.
As far as I am concerned, speaking in a strange accent, copying everything from the western world, constantly addressing anything indigenous as local, being snobbish, lacking respect for people, boasting about how many places you have visited without being able to talk about the culture and lifestyle of the places is definitely not in any way proof of exposure.
My master’s degree was in the United Kingdom. During my time, I constantly told my friends that schooling abroad it not just about the education. If you school abroad and you restrict your interaction to people who are from the same country as you (my first major friend was from Pakistan; Umar), the only foods you eat are those peculiar to your country and so on, then, you haven’t gotten any added value for the hard currency that has been spent.
So basically, there are different types of travelers; we have travelers that go to the same place every summer, stay with the same family abroad every summer, look for Nigerian food, only shop and those that stay in their hotels 24/7. These types of travelers are obviously not very different from someone else that has never left the shores of Nigeria. The only difference is they have been on an international flight, seen structures outside their country and have a little sense of how things are done outside their shores (not cultural).
Don’t get me wrong there is a level of exposure that comes with traveling. The quote “Seeing something with your eyes once is worth more than seeing it 10 times in a picture” supports it. Travelling opens up your mind to new things and higher glass ceilings to break. We are limited by our imagination. Without a doubt seeing the world will help open one’s mind/deep knowledge. However, seeing the world with one’s eyes is not the only way to open our mind.
Do not let anyone make you feel you are not vast in knowledge because you are not well travelled. Yes, being well travelled helps but if you don’t have the funds, do not let that limit you from learning. You can surf the net, read, see picture, have intellectual conversation with brilliant minds, learn from everything and everyone and the see the world through the eyes of travelers. Most importantly, be open minded. Don’t be left out on the amazing wonders of the world. You will also find out as you explore that all gold and glitters, but don’t let that distract you.
This piece was written by My Choice Vacation. My choice vacation is a travel platform aimed at encouraging travel because the depth of experience and memories that come with traveling cannot be explained!
What does being exposed mean to you and do you agree or disagree with the fact that travelling is directly related to exposure? Please share your thoughts!