"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness"

Real Estate Agent with Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info DB-17066

I have always loved this quote from Mark Twain's book Innocents Abroad!

My wife used to get upset at me when I referred to the small town mentality of her home town.  It wasn't meant as an insult, it was just that many had never wandered far from where their umbillical chord got snipped.  They didn't know much of the outside world.  I recall one day when a group of locals were sitting at a restaurant and one of them complained that he bought a Sears VCR thinking he had bought "American" and yet when he opened it up, there were only parts from China!  

It took a lot of travel to new places before my wife finally understood what I meant by small town mentality.  If she had grown up in downtown Chicago or New York City, her biases would have been totally different.  Not better or worse, just different.

I have currently been to 17 different countries and I lived in four of them.  I started kindergarten in Saigon Vietnam during the war.  Then, in 3rd grade, we moved to Seoul, Korea.  We moved back to the United States when I started 5th grade and bounce around until I completed my sophomore year in high school.  Then we moved it Tehran, Iran where I graduated from high school during the overthrow of the Shah in December 1978.  I moved back to the United States, alone at the age of 17.

Here is an interesting read that is written by one of the students from Tehran American School. It is not your average "coming of age" book.  Some of us were not so innocent abroad.

I am extremely grateful for each and every experience for it has made me the man I am today.  I firmly believe that being a third culture kid helped me learn to empathize with others and to keep an open mind to new ideas.

It helped me be a good Realtor in that I can appreciate the concerns when relocating to a new home, city, state or country.  I am going to start teaching the "At Home With Diversity" class for the National Association of Realtors in addition to their new "Bias Override" class.  Hopefully, those classes (and others) will get me to the four remaining United States, I haven't been to yet!

In those classes, I will share some of my personal experiences from around the world to help others see through prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.

Comments (23)

Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Jim- I am a city girl from the south. And while I have not traveled a great deal, I feel lucky to have grown up in diverse cultures...Texas, Chinese, big city with a small town atmosphere and a very diverse family. It's so important that we take the time to learn about other cultures and not just in other countries but our own country. 

Jun 05, 2022 07:39 PM
Jim Paulson

I agree Kathy Streib.  My middle son is not religious, yet he has read more variations of a bible than anyone I know just so he can empathize.  He has read:  the Bible; the Book of Mormon; Quran; Torah; Wicca's Book of Shadows; and more. He says "How can I discuss it if I haven't read it?"

Jun 05, 2022 10:32 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

I agree, Jim... I grew up in New York City and have lived my life in major world cities like NYC, San Francisco, Washington DC, Boston, London, Paris, Abu Dhabi. Charlotte is actually the smallest city I've ever lived in. I've travelled all over the world both on business and personally. Travel and exposure to other cultures totally broadens one's mind and appreciation for people and places that are different from what we grow up knowing. Gustave Flaubert's quote has long been one of my favorites:

"Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world."

Now isn't that the truth?

Jun 06, 2022 05:33 AM
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID

Nina Hollander, Broker I have yet to make it to Abu Dhabi or Charlotte.  Both are on my to do list. Very excellent quote indeed!

Jun 10, 2022 07:39 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Jim Paulson good morning, Jim... Abu Dhabi is a place I never need to return to. If you are motivated to travel to the Emirates you should go to Dubai... I call it the Las Vegas of the Middle East. Charlotte, a whole other story, and I do hope to see you here one day!

Jun 11, 2022 04:29 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Jun 11, 2022 07:03 PM
Jim Paulson

Thanks for the feature Kathy Streib .  It gave this blog a nice boost.  I appreciate you.

Jun 12, 2022 09:55 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Jim. I was in the first "At Home With Diversity" classes offered in Ft. Myers, Florida. Would have had even more meaning if it were taught by someone of your life experiences. Enjoy your day.

Jun 12, 2022 04:50 AM
Jim Paulson

Wayne Martin my life experiences is one of the main reasons that I got approved to teach the At Home With Diversity class for NAR.  I hope to travel a lot in 2023 across the US teaching it and other classes.  I will be doing an overview of the NAR certifications and designations on our Zoom meetings here on ActiveRain on the 21st of June.

Jun 12, 2022 09:59 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Jim - this is a wonderful post.  One of the HR core competencies is global perspective.  And travel is one of the biggest ways to increase that.  Today, as opposed to the 60's and 70's we have higher mobility and our world has shrunk.  The provincial thinking I saw when traveling then are not as great now.  A work in progress!

Jun 12, 2022 04:54 AM
Jim Paulson

Grant Schneider back in roughly 1988 I ran the document control department for the Fort Drum project in Watertown NY.  My mail clerk was probably about 45 years old and she had never been more than 70 miles from where she was born.  It is only 30 miles from Canada but she had never crossed the border and had no desires to because everything she though she needed was available in Watertown.

One day she opened up an envelope from the Corps of Engineers so she could route that mail.  She was dumbfounded when she noticed there were 8 checks including  7 for $999K (the Corps of Engineers wasn't authorized to issue checks for over $1 million so they issued multiple checks).  She wasn't sure what to do with them since I don't think she ever saw a check over $5k before.  I told her I would take care of it.  Then, I dropped one on her desk and took the rest and said I would meet her in the Bahama's.  Fun times!

Jun 12, 2022 10:10 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Jim, for sharing some of your personal experience.

Dolores and I have not lived in another country but have enjoyed our visits to many.

Jun 12, 2022 04:57 AM
Jim Paulson

Roy Kelley which has been your favorites country to visit and why? From Gaithersburg, you have so many options to hop on a plane and go since you have the three major airports fairly easily accessible.

Jun 12, 2022 10:13 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Jim,

I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-ha" moment for the week, as I missed it. Traveling abroad and even in the Unites States opens ones eyes to other cultures, thoughts, ways of thinking and helps us understand others. I loved the quote that Nina Hollander, Broker shared. Every time we'd fly back to the states from a trip abroad, landing in NYC (usually)  I couldn't help but think what a young country we are. Thank you for your perspective.

Jun 12, 2022 05:15 AM
Jim Paulson

Dorie Dillard Austin TX ; I am glad Kathy Streib featured it too.  She has a great following here in the Rain.  I recall flying back from Iran in December 1978 into JFK.  I got a bit emotional when they said "Welcome Home".  

Jun 12, 2022 10:19 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Jim - your post certainly rings true.  Sometimes you may not need to travel far to discover a different way, a new path or be introduced to a previously unknown concept.  A walk on the other side of the street can open possibilities and perspective.  

Jun 12, 2022 05:58 AM
Jim Paulson

Michael Jacobs sometimes even walking on the same side of the same street but on a different day of the week or time can be amazingly different.  Bourbon Street in New Orleans at 9 AM on Monday vs midnight Saturday is probably the greatest extreme I can think of. 

Jun 12, 2022 10:22 AM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

Thank you for the perspective Jim Paulson When I was teaching back in NW IN, I learned there were students who had not ventured out of the county. This was due to low incomes as well as it was a farming community. I then devised a field trip to take them two counties to the west to explore a local art museum. It was indeed fascinating to watch these young students see just the difference two counties away could make.

Jun 12, 2022 07:15 AM
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID

Leanne Smith very great of you to help culture your students.  It is so much more rewarding to experience it instead of just read about it.

Jun 12, 2022 10:24 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Jim:

I wasn’t aware of the diversity of your life experiences and all the places you have lived. That will certainly be a benefit to those taking your At Home WIth Diversity class. I look forward to your Zoom presentation, too.

Traveling abroad certainly opens ones’ eyes to the diversity of our world’s cultures and people. I hope to do some more before I no longer can, or want to.



Jun 12, 2022 02:37 PM
Jim Paulson

Thanks Jeff Dowler, CRS I look forward to more international travels myself.  I often don't even care where I go, I just like to experience new cultures, places, and food.  Let's go!

Jun 23, 2022 01:14 PM
Buzz Mackintosh
Mackintosh REALTORS - Frederick, MD
“Experience, reliable, leadership”

I will put your Zoom on the calendar and if you class comes to the DMV area I'll try to attend. I agree the more you travel and experience other cultures and areas of the country helps yo as a REALTOR. I was lucky my Dad loved to travel and have been to all 50 States.

Jun 12, 2022 03:41 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Travel can open one's eyes to differences in culture and way of life. We are born in places and cultures that are not of our doing, but of our parents. We could have popped out anywhere, and life would have been so different. Better? Worse? Maybe neither -just different.

Enjoy your day!

Jun 13, 2022 04:39 AM
Jim Paulson

Very true Kat Palmiotti It is amazing how many people are born into a culture or religion and don't question if they had the chance to choose, if they would stick with the one they were born into.

Jun 23, 2022 01:20 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Jim,

The NAR picked the right person to teach or, as I like to say "moderate" "At Home With Diversity" classes.  A good teacher is more of a discussion leader.  Coming from an HR background, diversity training was part of the job.   I lived in very diverse areas throughout my life.  Some might say that Sedona is a small town, but people come from everywhere to live here.  It is a great experience to get out and travel the world.  Getting a local guide to show you the area is always a wonderful learning experience.

Jun 13, 2022 08:27 AM
Jim Paulson

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® I agree totally about the local guide.  If I had more time this July and August when I drive fairly close to you for my next rafting trip down the Grand Canyon.  If you haven't done that yet, put it on your list.  I am very blessed to go two years in a row on private trips.

Jun 23, 2022 01:24 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Interesting viewpoint. I grew up outside of London and had the privilege from an early age of travelling a great deal with my father on business and vacation trips. It allowed me to see how everyone was the same, they may look a little different but ultimately the same and they generally want the same for their kids etc. 

Jun 14, 2022 12:46 PM
Jim Paulson

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543; we were definitely both fortunate to travel the world.  I remember when we moved to Saigon, my brother told our parents "The kids here all laugh and cry in English". 


By the way, when I lived in Leesburg (Northern) Virginia back in my corporate days, we bought and sold our house via an agent at Long and Foster.

Jun 23, 2022 01:27 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

There’s a lot to be said about travel and expanding your base of who you know and wh we can make connection with

Jun 20, 2022 11:03 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I’m coming back to this because I was talking to somebody about this quote and I couldn’t remember it but thank you for writing it

Jun 22, 2022 07:47 PM
Jim Paulson

Laura Cerrano I have always loved (lived) that quote as well.

Jun 23, 2022 01:31 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Jim Paulson - speaking of small town mentality, I was reminded that even though Chicago is a big city, I also had small town mentality because as a family, we did not take vacations and stayed close to other family members. It wasn't until I moved away to Maine with my kids and lived/worked in a rustic environment; then went back home I realized how much I had grown, and others did not. When I talked about my experiences of depending more on a flashlight than my wallet, others did not understand and followed up with the new Walmart store or something irrelevant. So when I read your post, I thought to myself, this is good. I am glad Jim brought this topic up. It is worth pondering. 

Jun 29, 2022 02:21 PM
Jim Paulson

If you don't get out and away from your "normal" you will be continuously bombarded by confirmation bias" and you won't even know it.  I know the first time I spent time in Chicago, my preconceived notions were way off base.  The people were much friendlier and the streets much safer than I expected.  Thanks for the feedback Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP 

Jun 30, 2022 04:10 PM