What It Means to Live “Global at Heart”

Adventurous, curious, welcoming, inclusive

To live global at heart is to pursue an adventurous, curious, inspired, and inclusive life, even when you can’t travel as often as you like. It’s a way of looking at the world, embracing different cultures and new experiences, and finding ways to make your travels more impactful in the day-to-day.

This post was never intended to be a political message, but a human one. I started writing it before the shocking (but, frankly, not all that surprising) outcome of the 2016 American presidential election. However,  the message of inclusiveness is that much more important now. Today more than ever, people need reassurance that this spirit still exists in the world.

Let’s open our hearts, minds, and arms to welcome and be welcomed wherever we may roam.

We need to continue, and even double down on our efforts, to show the traveler’s spirit, to be open to new and different ways of looking at the world, and to make a conscious effort to be global at heart. This especially important when we are in our own local environment and interacting with our neighbors. Let’s open our hearts, minds, and arms to welcome and be welcomed wherever we may roam.  

So how can we be “global at heart”? Below are some qualities I had in mind when I named my site, my business, and my personal outlook.

At home in the world

To be global at heart means that, though we are deeply connected to our homes, we are at home in the world. We revel in difference and are energized by the slight discomfort of the unfamiliar. We have an innate curiosity about our surroundings – both far away and close to home.

Visiting with a rancher (Don Julio) and his wife (Hortensia) in Patagonia

Adventurous and curious

We constantly seek out new, meaningful experiences and live like adventurers. We might enjoy the adrenaline rush of a physical challenge, but we also delight in the simple pleasures of tasting new foods, listening to new music, or considering a new point of view. Seeking out the less-traveled path, we might turn left when the map says tells us to turn right, just to see what’s around the corner (if we even use a map). As we know, adventure doesn’t just happen on the road, so we constantly change the angle from which we view our daily surroundings.

Homecooked meal in Kota, India

Welcoming and inclusive

People, not just post cards, matter. Sharing and exploration have the power to strengthen the bonds between people the world over. A strong sense of empathy and inclusion for those around us means that we enjoy others’ experiences as much as our own. We genuinely want to learn about cultures different from our own, and we want to share ours. We “go local” when abroad, and we share our own country, city, neighborhood, and possibly even our homes openly with visitors.

Sharing Chicago with friends – Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean”

Open-minded and sincere

We also love the exchange of ideas. Seeking out new perspectives, we go out of our way to ask questions and learn, and we have meaningful conversations without judgement. We are willing to consider outlooks and practices different from our own, even if we don’t agree with them.

Though we stay true to ourselves, we are able to appreciate difference, to change, and to grow from our experiences.

Growing and changing

We allow our travels and interactions with other to change us. Though we stay true to ourselves, we are able to appreciate difference, to change, and to grow from our experiences. We are collectors of meaningful experiences and artifacts that we weave into our lives, ensuring the joy of traveling is not subsumed by the daily grind after we return home (see my post Ending the Vacation Hangover  for ways to weave your travels into daily life).

Responsible and purposeful

While travel and exploration should be, above all, fun, we recognize that we have responsibilities. We must be both good guests and good hosts. These include respecting other people and their customs, protecting the environment, being adventurous without overstepping, treating the places we visit as we would our own homes, and (respectfully, patiently) helping others understand our ways. We travel and welcome people with a purpose – to be good global neighbors, to share, to grow together, and to make lives better the world over, even in small ways.

Onward global hearts

What else might you add? What does “global at heart” mean to you? How do you live this idea?

Want more about what it means live “global at heart”? Check out my short dispatches from the field: Global at Heart Moments.

Inspired to travel and want your own personalized  itinerary? Check out what it’s like to work with me

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