Some of the best people in the world…

| Saturday, July 30th, 2011 | 6 Comments »

some volunteer friends pretending to pass out after feasting in a Seoul restaurant

There is something seriously refreshing about service-minded globetrotters.  Some of the best people I have ever met, I have gotten to know on campuses and other outposts around the world.  They have generally been volunteers of some kind or people working for nonprofits.  Once you take away money as the main motivator in people’s lives and add a love for global travel in its place, people tend to really blossom into amazing human beings.   They just seem to automatically sound more interesting, more fun and better rounded.  They have real spark and a definite energy about them.  It’s incredible and I always enjoy meeting them.

I’ve often tried to work out what it is that makes these globe trotters tick.  Here are a few things that I have observed:

1) They see the bigger picture

I remember skiing with a guy in Northern Sweden who was convinced that he would never need to learn English.  I was 16 at the time but I still felt like the guy needed to travel a little and expand his understanding of the world.  The tragedy is that he may actually have been right.  If you stay in the same place your whole life, you may not need to grow and develop into an informed world citizen.  But you miss so much by this kind of complacency.  Those that travel are almost automatically more open minded, tolerant, understanding and more likely to see the bigger picture.  This is a very valuable quality.  Getting stuck in provincial nit-picking bickering is highly unattractive and a waste of time.

2) They are more curious – Travel – specifically service-minded travel – grows you as a human being.  It specifically grows your mind and forces you to ask questions – both of yourself and of those around you.  You discover more ways of being human.  You learn that there are different and often better ways of doing things.  You discover the beauty of other cultures and ways of seeing life.  It is exciting and drives you to learn more and more.  As you try to help people from other places, you yourself grow – it is always a two-way street. 

3) They are flexible – Anyone who has traveled extensively or done service-related work oversees knows that in order to be happy you have got to learn to be flexible.  You do give up a lot of c0ntrol in travel.  That is part of the beauty.  New environments will often mean an unpredictable schedule, re-written rules and a lot of other situations forcing you out of your comfort zone.  It is here that the seasoned international do-gooder adapts and stretches – it is healthy and a very positive thing.

4) They love the unknown – One step further than learning flexibility is actually learning to love the unknown. I find that seasoned service-minded relocators actually relish the adventure and growth that comes from deliberately tackling more of the unknown than most will see.  A foreign environment keeps you on your toes because you are constantly exploring and learning.  What lies ahead is unknown and with practice you can learn to see this for the excellent, suspense-filled growth opportunity it brings  rather than mourning the loss of the familiar.


A service mindset, powered by global travel has incredible power to make you a better, more interesting and exciting individual.  Why delay?  Find a cause, find a location and make the jump.  The world and you yourself will be better for it.

 

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Bjorn Karlman

6 Comments

  1. I think I should translate this article to my mom and grandma so they understand me finally :D Really liked it!

  2. Grace says:

    Bjorn, this list is spot on. I often observe these traits for the more interesting people I meet. Traveling forces us out of our comfort zone and helps us to stretch our minds (and most of the time even our hearts). The end result is a continuous evolution to become a better version of ourselves.

  3. Shon Evett says:

    Thanks for all your efforts that you have put in this. very interesting information. “JUDGE, n A law student who marks his own papers.” by H.L. Mencken.

  4. fjaiowjaoiw says:

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