Perspective is a noble pursuit that begins in epic stories you read as a child. You are thrust in daring adventures; falling down the rabbit hole, battling the big, bad villain, slaying dragons and you learn that there is no place like home.
Travel is another lesson in perspective. I once visited Madame Tussauds Museum, otherwise known as that famous place with wax figures.
When I encountered the figure of Patrick Stewart aka Jean Picard from Star Trek, I walked past. Then I thought of my Trekkie father, so I returned to capture him when I saw this tiny lady with the biggest SLR camera already in front of Patrick. She was taking her sweet, sweet time with her camera. I huffed and puffed. Annoyed, I was in the middle of giving her the death stare when a kind gentleman leaned to me:
“She’s a wax figure.”
I doubled over and let out a low, “Nooooooo”. The gentleman then said, “Not to worry, the exact same thing happened to me moments ago”. Immediately assured of my intact intelligence, I laughed with him.
My perspective was real to me before that moment. Once the gentleman reached out a hand, he gave me understanding. Without the new perspective from the man, smoke would be emitting from my ears.
When you travel, you are exposed to different cultures, ideals, landscapes, relationships and people. You are forced to adapt the lens through which you see the world.
Motivational speaker Wayne Dyer once said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. This constant adapting has resulted in a personal increase in respect, compassion, curiosity, and integrity. I am not referring to the fluctuating personal morals and values. They deserve a solid foundation to stand upon. I am simply referring to the bravery of keeping your eyes open, and recharging that curiosity and empathy.
We see the world through the filter of our own experiences, beliefs, knowledge and skills. This world includes relationships. Personal awareness of our own perspective enables you to walk in the shoes of a loved one, or a colleague, or even a stranger. This ability fosters a bridge of understanding and a foundation of kindness. The more differences we see, the more we recognize, accept, and celebrate differences.
As Oliver Twist teaches us, consider yourself. I say, consider others too.
– image credit: Lizzie Guilbert