If 30% of Americans have passports, but only 3.5% traveled outside the country (not counting Canada and Mexico) last year, is it any wonder that we are a somewhat insular and myopic people when it comes to understanding how we fit in to a world order. Most who do travel abroad find that most people are friendly and hold many of the same values in everyday life as we do in the U.S., unlike what is portrayed in the news media.

Why do the media often focus on the differences with other peoples, rather than the similarities? It’s simple. New media’s normal mode is to report deviances from the social norm. That’s what makes news news.

Even if I wasn’t the husband of a travel agent, with a bit of an appreciation of other peoples and other cultures, I’d say, to the extent you can afford it, invest in travel. The awareness and memories you bring back from travel can and often do pay lifelong dividends.