“Travel teaches tolerance” – Benjamin Disraeli

On this International Day of Tolerance, we believe it is essential to stress the importance of being tolerant while traveling, an important quality to have as a traveler. Here at ICE, we are pleased to serve travelers from a multitude of cultures at the national level in addition to having a rich culture within our team. We also have the opportunity to discuss the cultural shocks experienced by our Canadian clients who return home after their trip abroad. We are therefore taking the opportunity today to highlight some learnings that could make you reflect on the subject while waiting for your next trip!

What is tolerance?

Dictionaries define tolerance as the ability to admit that others have a way of life or a thought process which is different than ours as well as respecting the freedom of opinions. The United Nations goes further by adding that tolerance is also "the fact of recognizing the other and appreciating them at their true value, but also the ability to live together and to listen to others - constitutes the very foundation of all civil society, as well as of peace [1]. Could you say that you are a tolerant person? Have you ever been confronted with situations that have undermined your ability to show tolerance? The answers to these questions are probably not all black or white.

Does traveling bring tolerance?

The basic idea is that travelling trains the youth, teaches openness and teaches us tolerance. However, some travelers wonder if this is really the case or if, under the pretext of traveling, one should really tolerate everything. Depending on the destination, certain situations can push the concept of tolerance to a level that is difficult to accept. We are thinking in particular of contexts where we could witness situations that would not be legally acceptable in Canada. However, in general, several studies conclude that traveling does help develop a tolerant mind.

By opening up to others, to new beliefs, to sometimes surprising customs and to ways of seeing things differently, we develop tolerance, patience, indulgence and respect for difference. [2]

Our 3 tips for developing some tolerance while traveling:

1. Travel smart

Before you leave, learn about your destination, its local culture, customs and laws. Take the time to prepare yourself and think about the potential sources of friction you may encounter. It will make all the difference.

2. Take a break

Even though you are traveling to a dream destination, it is inevitable that some unplanned event or situation will shock you. Now, when it does, just take a break. By not reacting on the spur of the moment, you give yourself the chance to calm down and see the facts with a better perspective. We can distance ourselves from the situation and reflect on whether or not our reaction will change things for the better.

3. Put yourself in other people’s shoes

This may be a cliché tactic but sometimes the context can well explain one’s point of view. By understanding the socio-economic conditions, culture, religion and various political events surrounding an individual and their choices, we may realize that in such situation, we would have acted in a similar way.

While writing this blog, most Canadians are confined or have their freedom of movement restricted due to the pandemic. If your travel plans are postponed, you can still practice this virtue in your day-to-day environment. Social media and the web can easily lock us into a tunnel vision confirming our opinions and rejecting possible discussions with others on subjects that deserve more listening and openness. If you are one of those who is traveling regardless, the additional safety measures can be stressful. Be aware of those new measures so you don't get confused and to ensure your next trip is as pleasant as possible for you and for others.

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