|by Farrah Seucharan|
|Published on: Apr 10, 2010|
|“Not all who wander are lost”(J.R.R. Tolkien). No truer words reflect a time in which are all, to an extent, wanderers.
In 2010, in order to thrive on a global scale, we must be wanderers. We need to be fluent not only in our mother tongue, but also those of our country of birth, our country of residence, and those used by the business world, which could easily equal five languages. We must have traveled far and wide, to experience different countries and continents that can grant us with knowledge we may not find at home. We must also be technologically savvy, if only to share with others what we have learned. In this world, our global culture seems to function one way: those of us who are lucky enough to wander through words, nations, and cultures continue to lead the way in careers and connections, and those of us who must stay put must find other ways to wander through this knowledge, just to be able to take part in the global discourse.
Yet not is all as it seems. Those who are free to wander may seem to be lucky, but there is always something lost that may never be regained. There is the loss of time with your family and friends; the loss of a culture or community in which you are comfortable, wanted, and needed; most importantly, and perhaps most cruelly, the loss of identity. It seems that regardless of your role in this world, there will always be negatives: become a global wanderer and incur an incredible amount of losses, or wander within set boundaries, which may ultimately limit the dimensions in which you grow.
The question remains: what are we to do in a world that requires us to step outside our boundaries? Should we stick to our communities, or should we continue to wander and compete with others for the best careers, the best roles, the best lives in the world? The answer is simple, the process complex: be a conscious wanderer.
Due many inventions and changes in social norms in the past century, we now have opportunities that our ancestors have never dreamed of. The cost is that it comes with responsibility: the domino effect is now tenfold, and so ignorant words, actions, and misunderstandings that would have been kept within smaller circles in the past can now travel in a matter of seconds. However, the same goes for positive actions. It could be as simple as writing as travel journal on a personal website, allowing others to access information about a country to which they could never travel; it could be great as raising funds for victims of a natural disaster, done from the seat of your own home while coordinating efforts on the internet. The caveat is that it can take more effort to be positive than negative. We must be culturally sensitive, tactful, and patient; aware that not everyone has the same learning curve. We must be respectful of those who have opinions and personalities much different to our own. Lastly, and most importantly, we must do something required of us in the name of progress: we must be conscious of our actions. We must make the decision – as a person, as a society, and as a culture – that we want to grow.
Over time, identities and cultures change; this is inevitable. Nevertheless, it does not have to be inevitable that we lose all that is important to us in the process. We are in a time that allows information and people to travel at record speeds, and this is something of which we can all take advantage. Sharing one’s knowledge, culture, and experiences can lead us to great collaborations that have not been seen before. One can prevent a massive loss of friends and time not only by developing new connections, but by including old circles with the new. The key is to make sure that we are all willing to make slight adjustments in order to help each other grow - only then can this experiment work.
Right now, at this moment, there are millions of us wandering though life without a care to where we are going, unconscious of the effects our decisions take on others.
Let us make the move towards a brighter future: let us make the decision to all be conscious wanderers.