It is amazing how little people often know about the world around them. History books, social studies classes, and news from around the globe still does not really show what the outside world is like. The only way to truly learn about a culture is to go there and experience it. Interact with the people, learn about their history, live life a little it like they do.
Cruising provides a superb opportunity for cultural enrichment. Since we are traveling on our own time, staying and getting to know people is usually pretty easy. This is especially true about some of the more remote places, such as the South Pacific islands. For example, many of the Tuamotus see few enough people that they welcome every visitor individually. There are some islands (which we have not visited yet) where visitors are so rare it is a major local event when a cruising boat arrives.
Not all cultural enrichment takes the form of visiting native chiefs and joining in local fishing trips. Even the more first-world areas are very different from our home culture. The people have a different way of growing up, a different education. They consider the world from a different point of view. It is very interesting to discus world events with somebody who hears about them from a different source, and sees a different side of the issue than what most people think back home.
Cruisers tend to interact with a far wider variety of people than folks back home. As a result, we are certainly more familiar with and probably more tolerant of other ways of life. It is really too bad that so few people travel outside their own country, the rest of the world is so different and often has so much to teach.
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