love and heretics

It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness

Travel is Fatal!?

‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.’~ Mark Twain

“Traveling to diverse places really does broaden the mind, according to new research published December 5 in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

“Across five studies, using different research methods including a longitudinal study, we found that breadth but not depth of foreign experiences increases generalized trust,” Cao added. “In other words, the more countries one travels, the more trusting one is. Breadth is important here, because breadth provides a great level of diversity in people’s foreign travel experiences, allowing them to reach such a generalized assumption.”

The five studies included more than 700 participants in total.

In one experiment, the researchers surveyed undergraduates about their foreign experiences and feelings of trust. Those who visited a higher number of countries tended to be more trusting.

In another experiment, the researchers surveyed Chinese participants both before traveling abroad and after traveling abroad. Consistent with their hypothesis, those who traveled to more places tended to become more trusting.

Surveys are limited by the fact that they only reflect the participants’ beliefs and attitudes. But Cao and her colleagues found traveling also influenced actual behavior.”

Read more on the study


I think it would be interesting to add a study on the results of reading of these other places, and of other people, in biographies and even historical fiction. For though I have traveled very little in my real life, in the many books I have read, I felt a small taste of experiencing a world far larger than my own. ” You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”(Atticus) Something we, as humans, are able to do, even, or rather because of our ability to …imagine.

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” ― Albert Einstein

Does imagination play a role in empathy and understanding as well? And if so, wouldn’t it be an important part of education?



  1. I think imagination is vital to empathy. Indeed, i can’t see how one can be empathetic to another if they can’t imagine being in that person’s shoes.

    Great to see you back, Holly. Hope all is well!

    • Thanks John! All is well. The road is a bit bumpy here and there, but the journey is a continued learning experience. 🙂
      I wonder, have there been any series studies done on how to encourage, foster, and develop imagination, and empathy?

      • i’d imagine so. Last year i was researching imaginary friends (in children) and came across a wealth of early childhood studies. I’d suggest starting there.

  2. Hey Holly, this post reminds me of an example I use to encourage people to broaden their worlds that if the only food you eat is that made by your mum, you may think her the best cook ever even if her food is horrible. Travel and see the world, maybe you could just learn something

    • That is a great example Mak! Thanks. 🙂

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