An effective tool to fight unkindness: meeting someone completely different from you.
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Exploring the world helps you grow.

All images by Travel Noire.


Sure, finding yourself in a place you've never been and where you don't know the language is enough to push anyone's boundaries. But it's so much more than that.

Putting yourself in situations that open your eyes and your mind is essential to human development.

It shatters stereotypes.

Yep. It's one of the best ways to break them down.

Think of what the many contentious political debates that rage around us would be like if we learned to see past stereotypes and see people for who and what they are: human.

Well, you can go to Unlearning Your Bias 101 and learn how to really, truly see other people — or you can pack a bag and experience other people who are nothing like you. (Actually, some of us probably need both, but why don't we start with the more enjoyable approach first?)

[Learn] to feel connected to people, who are wholly unlike you, and the place they come from.

This isn't about observing other people and communities like a National Geographic photographer. This is about actually learning to feel connected to people, who are wholly unlike you, and the place they come from.

There's a big world out there full of things you've never even imagined.

I know it's easy to think that your city or even your country is the center of the world. (Looking at you, New York.) But guess what? It's not! Some realities just can't be fully understood without the physical experience. And really, truly grasping that might just make you a bit more concerned with and empathetic for issues that take place all around the world.

Some realities just can't be fully understood without the physical experience.

And while I'd like to think that posting pictures of victims of U.S. military policies is enough to inform your stance on defense, visiting another country might just change how you look at drones. Maybe hearing immigrant mothers on the news sharing their stories is enough to help you understand, but if a trip to beautiful Bolivia awakens your compassion and awareness, why not go?

Seeking out connections that span similarities really does matter.

It changes how you view yourself and the world around you. It changes what you believe is right, wrong, and possible. It changes your perspective forever.

And while that may sound a little hyperbolic, just listen to some people who have fallen in love with a company called Travel Noire over the past year. Travel Noire's goal is to make travel accessible to everyone and to connect a community of smart, savvy black travelers.

Their lives have been enriched in countless ways by taking a chance, meeting their fellow humans, and experiencing the kindness of the world around them.

Check it out:

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Empathy. Compassion. Heart-to-heart human connection. These qualities of leadership may not be flashy or loud, but they speak volumes when we see them in action.

A clip of Joe Biden is going viral because it reminds us what that kind of leadership looks like. The video shows a key moment at a memorial service for Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Hixon had attempted to disarm the gunman who went on a shooting spree at the school, killing 17 people—including Hixon—and injuring 17 more.

Biden asked who Hixon's parents were as the clip begins, and is directed to his right. Hixon's wife introduces herself, and Biden says, "God love you." As he starts to walk away, a voice off-camera says something and Biden immediately turns around. The voice came from Hixon's son, Corey, and the moments that followed are what have people feeling all their feelings.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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via Witty Buttons / Twitter

Back in 2017, when white supremacist Richard Spencer was socked in the face by someone wearing all black at Trump's inauguration, it launched an online debate, "Is it OK to punch a Nazi?"

The essential nature of the debate was whether it was acceptable for people to act violently towards someone with repugnant reviews, even if they were being peaceful. Some suggested people should confront them peacefully by engaging in a debate or at least make them feel uncomfortable being Nazi in public.

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The English language is constantly evolving, and the faster the world changes, the faster our vocabulary changes. Some of us grew up in an age when a "wireless router" would have been assumed to be a power tool, not a way to get your laptop (which wasn't a thing when I was a kid) connected to the internet (which also wasn't a thing when I was a kid, at least not in people's homes).

It's interesting to step back and look at how much has changed just in our own lifetimes, which is why Merriam-Webster's Time Traveler tool is so fun to play with. All you do is choose a year, and it tells you what words first appeared in print that year.

For my birth year, the words "adult-onset diabetes," "playdate," and "ATM" showed up in print for the first time, and yes, that makes me feel ridiculously old.

It's also fun to plug in the years of different people's births to see how their generational differences might impact their perspectives. For example, let's take the birth years of the oldest and youngest members of Congress:

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