Over the course of three months I have been in 15 countries. As much as I love Canada I never quite expected to miss it or any other place for that matter. I have to say, towards the end all I wanted was to go back to Tim Hortons, Hockey, and my own bed. Once I got to Finland I couldn’t handle another language, another culture, and another expense.
This got me thinking about what it means to break away from a worldview. For the life of me, I have been wanting so much to separate myself from that, and yet in my futility I came to long for those things all the more. What I have come to realize though is not that I miss Canada per se, but those things inherent in the necessity for identity. When we started this travel program with the theme of ‘Negotiating Identities’, I found myself understanding this very simply. Like all concepts, it is often hard to understand merely by reading a word, or being told that ‘Identity’ is somehow connected with nationality, race, or the like. Identity is so closely intertwined with worldview, and with similar difficulty they are defined. What I come to ask now is, if so deeply rooted in me is not necessarily patriotism but nationalism, how can I gain true cultural empathy?