In our globalizing world, it’s easy to become detached from all the people and all the lives out there. The news reports the numbers of people across the world suffering, and so many stories are designed to tug on our heartstrings that we even detach ourselves from these.

Society dictates a path for a ‘happy’ life. I’ve been told a few times recently that now is the best time in my life to travel. I have no mortgage, no home, no career, no kids, no car. I’ve been told that I’m going to settle down after school and follow this path–getting a job, saving enough to get a mortgage to own a home to have a place to live.

But why must I pick one place?

Cultures are made up by the ways people live their lives influenced by the traditions and stories passed on through generations. I am absolutely fascinated by how someone born in the same time period on the same planet can grow up thinking in an entirely different manner to their counterparts in different cultures.

My favourite genre of literature is generally dystopian because of the worlds that authors can create. Often these worlds are very similar to our own with only a few variables changed, yet these variables cause an entirely different world and way of thinking to create. Yet it amazes me that Western society can be captivated by popular books-turned-movies when they have so many of their own worlds so close.

I believe that living in a place and experiencing its culture leads to not only knowledge of a culture, but true appreciation, and that this appreciation is something that can be shared through stories and experiences. As I have the opportunities to study abroad and travel to unique locations, I feel obligated to share these experiences with those who are unable to do the same.

Everyone’s story is worth being shared, and when people have a human understanding of another culture, they are more likely to be inspired to better the circumstances of the world around them.

As such, I’ll be holding off on that mortgage and on picking that place for a while yet.