Over at The Guardian, readers have been given a sneak peek at Far & Away, a new book on travel and perspective by Andrew Solomon. Solomon proposes that travel is a necessity in order to counterbalance the narrow-mindedness that can come from only knowing one's own experiences (or one's own language, cultural norms, and versions of war stories). If one can afford it, travelling can break the borders and walls that prevent us from deeply understanding another's position. The explicit divisiveness of keeping countries physically separated bleeds into an implicit social disunity. When travel is undervalued, the easy translation between cultures that is essential for peaceful diversity can be replaced by homophilia and nationalism. What is a border, when we have met and spoken with the people who live on the other side of it? The best way to improve social diversity and reap its many benefits, according to Solomon, is to teach travel as a necessity.
Read the full excerpt here. For more reading on the socio-cultural significance of walls, check out Marcello Di Cintio’s award winning book, Walls (2012).
Image of migrants and a French policeman in Calais; via The Guardian
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