Visiting Every Country in The World Taught Me Most Stereotypes Are Wrong

By Sal Lavallo
Visited EVERY country by age 27. Spreading the positivity of little known and negatively perceived places

Islam, like many of the countries I post about, is not viewed well in the world. I am thus not only happy and honored to share the positivity of my faith with you, but am also obliged to do so. Just like I feel obliged to share the beauties of places most of us have never heard of or only feel negatively towards.

Visiting every country in the world showed me how much we all must open our eyes- we must never stop learning or close ourselves off to change. What we do not even know we don’t know far outweighs what we ever allow ourselves to comprehend. We are capable of so much more! Our minds can grasp the complexity of the world: its problems and its successes. Each and every one of us is dynamic and diverse- made up of a plethora of identities interwoven to make us unique.

We are constantly growing and changing and thus no one will ever fully know us because we can’t even fully know ourselves. So how can we pretend to know others? To judge them? But the impossibility of an answer or destination does not mean the journey is futile. We must strive to see ourselves and our world for all its truths. We must be better than to perceive a person, let alone a country, a religion, or any group of people based solely on limited extraneous information.

We must strive to understand- to ask questions, to admit we need to learn more, and to allow the new information to change us and shape our views.

I hope that by sharing about these countries you see the world somewhat differently and realize the limits of what we know. I am humbled by all the messages received that thank me each time I post about a country that is viewed negatively. It means a lot to people who are so often misunderstood to be mentioned positively to have others striving to understand them.

It is the same now with so many of you saying I’m brave to be forward about my Islam, because many of you feel that no one wants to understand us. If we don’t want to be judged or misunderstood, we ourselves must not judge and must always aim for more understanding. We should be happy to admit the things we don’t know and always strive to learn more- to deeply question all our views and beliefs.