TED Talks are about spreading ideas. It says so right in their tagline: “Ideas worth spreading.” This is what resonated with me — and I think with the audience — the most from Robin Esrock’s TEDx talk in Vancouver (the largest in TEDx history, it’s worth mentioning) about travel. It wasn’t travel advice. It wasn’t Robin going up on stage imploring people to travel, telling them how great it is, and bragging about his own travels.
In his talk, Robin touches on some big universal themes. Themes that have a large impact on who we are and how we see the world, whether you fly overseas or never leave your community. For example, he talks about a time in Rio de Janeiro when he had the opportunity to take a night bus with a friend to head up north. He declined, but spent the next days fretting over his decision, imagining all the exciting adventures he was missing out on.
When he did eventually make the trip to join his friend, he discovered that the bus was involved in a head-on collision and several people died, including the seatmate of his friend. His conclusion? “Wherever you are is exactly where you’re supposed to be.” Further to that, every decision you make is the best possible decision you could have made. Employed in daily life, this simple switch in perspective can dissolve a lot of anxiety that we heap upon ourselves by constantly wanting to be somewhere else, wanting to be doing something else.
“People would rather help you than harm you” — another lesson that Robin learned from his travels, especially after visiting areas that, in the mainstream eye, were “dangerous.” I’ve always felt travel is a metaphor for life, that the lessons learned by interacting with people of different cultures are lessons that can carry us through life in a more connected and conscious way.
Whether you decide to travel the world or stay put in your hometown, watch this talk. It may shift something in you.