Traveling long distances has become a commodity. A plane to the other side of our planet is leaving at least once a day from any major airport and I would recon that most middle class households could afford at least one ticket.
I was born in 1994 and I remember peoples reactions to my parents taking my sister and I onto an overseas trip to the US, when I was only around nine or ten years old. My parents are of the generation that built this world. They grew up with Germany being split into two by a huge wall. That wall separated many families and a lot of people lost their lives trying to cross it by being shot or ripped apart by land mines. All of that happened in the middle of Europe, the last time only 30 (!) years ago in 1989. In stark constrast I grew up being able to freely travel into any neighbouring country, without even thinking about bringing a passport or being stopped at a border. This is Europe at its finest and I think this part of being a European citizen is something that came as a bonus alongside the tariff free trading union and a unified currency.
Growing up with this mindset and visiting many places around Europe and northern America I always liked the idea of infinte “Fernweh”. Don’t get me wrong, I love Hamburg to death, but seeing other places and understanding the state of mind in another city, smaller of bigger, is always refreshing. It gives you perspectives and experiences you wont get in any other way.
Alongside those upsides you may even end up making new friends along the way. In my case I made friends in a couple of different places and they’re all people I can rely on and ask for a favor, even when I’m thousands of kilometers away. Nothing beats the feeling of being able to get a question answered or a recommendation from a local when you’re visiting.
I have friends who live close by and I wouldn’t want to miss them but the Internet enables me to maintain friendships with people on different continents. By doing that it enables me to maintain a different viewpoint onto the world and I think it overall improves me as a person.
Many people in different age groups have lifes like mine now, but I think I’m part of the first generation that is really able to leverage this technology in this way and growing up with it. The downsides are getting more and more obvious in recent years though, but I hope once it gets to a more maintainable state of crazy we will be able to enjoy the technology more.
It’s more than likely not to be the case but I reamin hopeful.