Welcome to the almost weekly series on The Mad To Live: The Traveling Philosopher’s Roundtable: Citizen Of The World Edition. Each week a group of hand picked world-traveling, life-inspiring, dream-pursuing bloggers from all walks of life will share their personal opinions, stories and insights based on a question stemming from a quote, event, video, photo, etc. They get 150 words to share something brilliant, and they always do.
THE CITIZEN OF THE WORLD
How do you answer someone when they ask you, “So, where are you from?” Do you tell them the location you’re technically a citizen of? Do you tell them everywhere you’ve been and lived? If you define yourself as a citizen of the world, it can become a much more complicated answer than the good ole, “I’m from (Insert 1 city, state, country)”.
Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we…
The merriem-webster dictionary tells us that “citizen” is defined as a “member of the state.” However, if we look atthe history of the word “citizen” we soon find that this word didn’t originally just mean we owe allegiance to a specific country. From Old French “citezein”, from Latin “civitas”, and finally from a Proto-Indo-European base *kei- “to lie, homestead.”
In essence, it derives from the word “home”.
Francis Bacon Sr., English philosopher of the 17th century, once told us, “If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them.”
Greek philosopher Diogenes told a story about a man whom, “when asked where he came from, replied ‘I am a citizen of the world.‘”
Socrates claimed, “I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”
The Discussion: Reflecting on what these philosophers said and what it means to be a “citizen”, what does it mean to be a citizen of the world in your eyes? How would you describe such a person? What kind of traits do they have and do they lack? And furthermore, what is “home” to you in your own personal experiences? How are you a citizen of the world?
Erica and Shaun of Overyonderlust: 1 Awesome Couple, 2 Different Angles
Erica: I think the term citizen of the world has changed over time due to the introduction of social media and technology as a whole. There is an increased sense of connectivity that just wasn’t there before. We are looking beyond borders and making friends all over the world. As long as you can have good company, home can be anywhere!
Shaun: You can never truly begin to understand people until you have spent time living as they do.
The most important thing I have learned in our travels is the value of respect. Good or bad, the way we treat each other on a global scale can have longstanding effects. I believe that a citizen of the world spends their time doing everything they can to make the world a better place, one experience at a time.
Caz Makepeace of yTravelBlog: Open Mind, Open Heart, Open Eyes
A citizen of the world is someone who is open to embrace what is wonderful and unique about each culture around the world and does not feel insecure or intimidated by this. They don’t allow their own limiting cultural beliefs to prevent them from visiting a new country, trying different food, or speaking to someone who believes differently to them.
A citizen of the world understands that we can all get along; there is no need to compete or try to outdo each other. They know the most important thing is the similarities that unite us, whilst celebrating the experience of the differences.
Home is not a physical place that I can define, it is a space I occupy where I feel most alive. One moment it might be wandering the busy Bangkok night markets, another chasing lions across the savannah, or another sitting with my Irish friends drinking Guinness.
Kim Dinan of So Many Places: Everything Is Connected
A citizen of the world understands how his or her actions affect the world. If you are a consumer of anything (and I bet you are!) you have a responsibility to understand that there are people all over the world that are working themselves and the earth, perhaps inequitably, to provide a product to you. Every single choice you make affects a long line of people all over the world. A citizen of the world understands that everything is connected.
I feel most at home when I am in nature, miles and miles from most humans. Wendell Barry said that the earth is what we all have in common, and I believe that. My connection to the natural world means that I can feel at home in many places on this planet. And because I need natural places to survive I am driven to protect the planet. That’s what makes me a citizen of the world.
Melvin of Travel Dudes: Global Citizen = Respect + Accept
We are all citizen of the world!
We are living in the time of globalization. But not everyone realize and behaves like that, sadly. Global citizen shouldn’t just respect, but also accept others.
Home for me is a place where I feel good. The place I was born, the places where I lived in the past and hopefully also in future.
I never thought of saying this someday, but it’s also the www, where you can meet and make new friends wherever they are.
For my part, I try to get travelers together and to share travel experiences via Traveldudes. I hope to encourage other, to travel the world and to crash barriers and to enjoy the world with all it offers.
It’s about treating your environment with respect every day. It starts with saving energy, buying fare trade products, supporting Greenpeace, WWF & other organizations and ends with sharing my opinion!
Jon and Andrea of Inspiring Travelers: Not Where Your From, But Where You Are
We struggle when asked where we’re from. John’s in the enviable position of being able to answer simply: Perth. We then both hesitate, because that’s not really an accurate answer regarding hometown. Andrea was raised in a place where she no longer has family and hasn’t returned to in 14 years. We’ve lived in Melbourne for the last four, but that isn’t really home either.
Instead we choose to be at home on whatever ground we are standing. As expats we’ve had to accept the challenges of language, acceptance and cultural differences. Part of being a citizen of the world is to see these things as opportunities rather than obstacles. The trick is to have an open heart. When travelling, we don’t feel a divide between ourselves and the locals. When the earthquake hit Christchurch, it really had an impact on us because we’ve been in New Zealand all summer.
Andi of My Beautiful Adventures: Home Is The World, Not Where You Pay Rent
Whenever someone asks me where I am from, my gut reaction is to say that I am a “citizen of the world.” Of course I respond that I am from the United States, although I have always felt that my home is the world and not the place in which I am paying rent. I think to be a true citizen of the world you must have the desire to explore every inch of it, however I think it is more than that. I think not only should you love traveling, but you should also love people and should want to contribute to making the world a better place. Even when I am not on the road, I make this a priority in my life.
We all have different stories, opinions, lessons and wisdom to share. So, what would you add to this roundtable discussion? What’s your definition of a citizen of the world? How are you one? How does one become one? And what does the word “home” mean to you?
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