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Travel outside your comfort zone

Summer is almost here. Many Princeton students will be using this time to travel. When students here speak of travelling they often mean to places like Florida or California. Or if they are going abroad, they typically mean to Mexico or (western) Europe, and these trips usually include stays in hotels, and time spent on the beach and other touristy areas. Not all Americans travel like this; however, for anyone who has ever backpacked — and especially outside of Europe — they can attest that Americans are in short supply. Indeed, in my encounters I have met many Germans, Britons, Australians, Israelis, New Zealanders, Japanese and Canadians, but few Americans. A traveller whom I befriended while hitchhiking through Atlantic Canada remarked that when he travelled he was usually able to distinguish between Americans and Canadians. "Americans," he said, confirming a stereotype amongst backpackers, "do not stray far from the beaten path and prefer the comfort of a hotel." There is an unfortunate consequence because of this phenomenon. It is much harder to appreciate the suffering of people when you have not had a chance to interact with them. I believe there would have been much greater protest to the war…




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