As a traveler you’re always asked, “Where are you from?” It’s the universal icebreaker. There’s always an easy answer too — we blurt out “America,” or “England,” or “Zimbabwe!”
But is that the whole answer? The DNA movement is at the forefront of asking and answering the question of who we really are. Are we defined by a singular culture? Or are we part of a complex tapestry which stretches to the farthest corners of the planet?
Momondo wants you to ask these questions and they’re willing to send you on a trip around the world to find answers. The travel website just launched a contest that will put you through a standard DNA profile to determine your heritage. Once that’s mapped out, one lucky contestant will be sent on a journey tracing his or her DNA all around the world. Seventeen more contestants will get sent to one country on their DNA list.
Recently, Momondo has been starting to focus on why we travel and how we can benefit from it. They believe in the power of travel to increase a person’s trust in humanity, and they’ve even got science to back up their claims. The company commissioned a study of 7,292 people across 18 countries and asked them about trust, opened-mindedness, and compassion. After correcting for gender, age, income, and education they concluded:
Overall, the study shows a positive statistically significant correlation between travelling and trust in other people in general, trust in people from other nationalities and trust in people from other religions, which indicates that travelling increases openness towards other people.
This study has come to the same conclusion as four other major studies — which have all noted an increase in our tolerance of other people (based on race, nationality, and religion) brought about by traveling. In fact, people who have traveled to 46-50 countries ranked 22 percent higher than those that traveled to 0-5 countries on their ability to trust people and embrace diversity. Overall “76% of responders claimed that traveling has given them a more positive view of cultures and diversity.”
Given that each of the studies have come to the same, crystal clear conclusion, we’re obviously moving towards a consensus: Travel makes you more tolerant and trusting.
Alas, it’s not all rosy. 48 percent of responders worry that societies are becoming less and less tolerant of one another’s cultures. How can this be quelled? Once again, the study points to travel, “More than half of all the respondents agreed that there would be less intolerance, less prejudice, and more peace in the world, if people travelled more.” It’s pretty solid evidence that travel is vital…as if we needed more travel motivation.