This month, BlackEnterprise.com presents Month of the Man, where we bring you career features tailored for male leaders of color all over the world. This week, a millennial professional shares, in his own words, his experience with travel and how it has not only enriched his career but his life as a whole.
In my life, I’ve been lucky enough to travel some of the world—15 countries across four continents—and I have much more to discover. In that time, I’ve learned more than a few languages, many customs, and equally important, I’ve been able to share these experiences with my friends and family through letters, conversations and plenty of pictures.
These travel experiences have made me the person I am today and will help shape who I become tomorrow and even 20 years from now. If you ask me, I’ll always tell you that I’m a perpetual student of language, culture and history. Those three endeavors continue to fuel me in the way I shape and continue to explore the world.
My view? The world is actually smaller than you can imagine. Distances defined by miles are something I see as only a number on a calculator. “Too far” is a phrase uttered by many of my peers as a reason to not to discover. And the concept of differences of nationality or language are ones that have kept us separated from each other. Yet, no place is too far and no person is too different that we can’t learn more about others, as well as ourselves.
Today, through digital media, the world has been made even smaller. It is because of this phenomenon that it should drive us to go and see even more for ourselves, that others could not, and contribute to the history that we can now learn so quickly.
For Americans, travel is a must. For young black people, as I have always said, it is more than essential. As we all grow throughout our lives, interacting with the people who have a direct and indirect impact on our world only makes us grasp more clearly how we can improve ourselves. For me, the experience of traveling and living abroad made me stronger both in my own mind and in the changes that I wanted to see around me. Through exploration, I was able to leave my own experience, my own signature and my own history in various places on this planet, just as others had done before me.
There is so much that we don’t understand in world around us which is immediately tangible. Yet through travel to destinations off our continent, we can find the answers that we have been looking for.
As a speaker of German and Spanish, even the way I think about how I choose to relate to others has been made possible through a shift in linguistic communication. Learning new formations of teeth and tongue, compressions of air, and gesticulations all of which are right in front of you, should you choose to seize them and make them yours. Even if one doesn’t choose to develop another tongue, seeing people (especially who look like you) who have all the same and yet different experiences that you have at home, the travel, being away makes one so much stronger and in fact, changes lives. In my experience through travel I have been able to make an impact and have others make a significant impact on me, which has directed my adult life. But, more importantly, staying in the vein of continual exploration and building the necessary relationships with your peers of different backgrounds, who in fact are in your everyday world (where you study, where you work, where you relax) will continue to be to your benefit both in the experience you’re having now and well beyond it . It is through travel that we begin to truly understand and explore ourselves. We begin to understand who we are as both individuals and what our roles are in the larger scheme of the playing field that we so simply call life.
The need for travel, the need for exploration, the need to leave your own mark on this world can be made through sharing your experiences with others around the world. This is the only way we can continue to change and improve the course of our own histories.
Jarobin Guerra Gilbert, 27, is a digital marketing professional who focuses, among other interests, on the roles that international cultures and spoken languages play in tech-usage habits and digital media consumption. Gilbert has experience in search engine optimization (SEO) and social media analysis. The consummate traveler is a graduate of Hamilton College and is certified in digital media marketing from NYU-SCPS.