Chapter 5 Living and Letting Live, Reframing Atheist Travel into Understanding Cultural Differences

In: Pilgrimage as Transformative Process
Chadwick Co Sy Su
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Even as I hold the belief that travel and pilgrimage are ultimately individual strivings, I find a need to reframe individual utility into wider contexts, that is, in pedagogy and the reduction of discord. Specifically, I explore in this paper how travel, particularly atheist travel, can be recast as a tool in illustrating and understanding intercultural differences. In handling a college Intercultural Communication course, I have come to suppose that a lecturer who has had the privilege of travel acquires the credibility to ask his students to question their assumptions and ultimately leave them with a message of living and letting live. As opposed to a lecturer who obtains his material from standard textbooks and esoteric readings that college students are not wont to appreciate, the traveled lecturer is able to illustrate the values of understanding and tolerance with a concreteness that can never be found in any book, however well-written. I submit that atheist travel with bias reduced to a minimum can be a potent tool in getting, and keeping, the attention of young adults in regard to abstract concepts in intercultural communication such as chronicity, power distance, and uncertainty management, among others. I thus discuss the intersection of atheist travel, pedagogy, and the teaching of tolerance in the milieu of the Philippines’ foremost non-sectarian state university, and how this intersection can hopefully result in a goal that probably all travelers and pilgrims aspire to: peace.

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