I had the fortune of being born and raised out here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. While I wasn’t entirely accepted by my peers growing up, I was able to explore the world through history and imagery with MS Encarta at home. I was able to read about different cultures and people near and far and see how humanity has come along over the centuries, and it was very interesting. My fortune increased when I was able to travel to Japan as a part of a student exchange program for 10 days. While I came back with quite the experience, I was only 14 at the time and I feel like I hadn’t matured into my understanding of what a prime opportunity it was to experience the culture fully.
Nevertheless, in my upbringing and my own personal discoveries, I feel that it is entirely possible for one to become a world citizen. They just need to have their mind open enough to the concept of humanity on a whole, When I was in Japan, I noticed how Western culture had dramatically influenced their culture. That isn’t to say that Japanese culture isn’t unique because I think anyone who’s spent time on the internet can agree there are some drastic differences that have Japan in it’s own league of culture. It was that realization that allowed me to start really thinking about people on a global scale. It really drove home how while we’re all different in our own ways, we’re also all people and similar in many way as well. Being a world citizen isn’t just about embracing the differences we all have, but also the similarities and being able to connect with people from all over with them.
On the flip side, I have tremendous Pacific Northwest pride having been spoiled with the majestic Olympic Mountains in my backyard and the Pacific Ocean coastline so near. I’ve been able to travel parts of the US and Canada and see major cities like New York and Chicago, as well as different regions like Nevada and Virginia. And every time I go there, I find something new and exciting about the area that makes it different from home here on the peninsula, but I always come home thankful I live where I do because of the scenery and the pleasantness. Cities are fun to visit, but the hoards of people and the tall skyscrapers don’t compare to the comfortable community of people we have out here and the tall cedar trees. Even when I lived in Eastern Washington for awhile, I felt displaced. I wanted there to be water nearby that was more than the Columbia River. I didn’t want to travel a couple hours just to get to the foothills of mountains. The culture out there wasn’t as inviting or similar as I had hoped, which made me yearn more for my home out here. You couldn’t get me to shut up about how fantastic the peninsula was for hiking and living.
So yes, while I feel people and myself can be world citizens, there is also a fair amount of regional and hometown pride to share.