If You Love Your Country, Leave It
We all know the saying - distance makes the heart grow fonder. Well, I don't think this applies only to overly-fantasized romance dramas. It applies for your country - or state, or hometown - as well. If you love your country, get out of it for a while. I promise the things you love most will still be there when you get home.
No matter what your native country is, and no matter how much you love it (or hate it), traveling will definitely give you a new appreciation for it.
You will discover new things that you love about your country that you never thought of before. I don't think anyone who knows me would describe me as a patriot by any means, but I do have a sense of pride about being American (the good kind) while traveling abroad. There are so many things that I had been taking for granted in America that I did not realize. Like buffalo wings. And American pancakes (seriously, why can't any other country in the world replicate our pancakes?). But seriously, you can't fully appreciate your country until you see what else is out there.
You will also have a deeper appreciation for the things you already loved. Freedom, for example. We Americans do love our many freedoms. Traveling to a country where women are not educated or LGBT people are killed will make you proud of the progress we have made in America.
Traveling to a foreign place will help you understand how it feels to be the outsider. Have you ever been the only person in a room that speaks your native language? It is a very humbling experience. It may make you a more understanding and compassionate person back home.
Traveling abroad will also challenge the way you view your country on the world stage, particularly for Americans. For people from the US of A, traveling abroad is a unique experince. I know, I know, I sound like a special American snowflake saying that our experience is somehow more important, more meaningful. But that is not what I mean.
It would be much more shocking for someone from a third-world country to travel to one of the great metropolises of the world. But for Americans, it is shocking in a different way. We are brought up believing that the whole world is watching us, dependant on us, obsessed with us. We are so isolated and many Americans never have interactions with foreigners. Yes, we are a major player in the world climate. But when you go to another country and start talking to the locals you learn that the rest of the world does not, in fact, revolve around America. Realizing this is so liberating.
You will also discover that many other countires have all the same problems that yours has. It is so easy to say that you will move elsewhere because you don't like some of the problems facing your country, but when you travel you come to realize that many countries face all the same problems. America does not have a monopoly on militarized police forces, refugee debates, or systemized racism. These are global issues.
Then there are the more obvious reasons like the food and the art. Sure, we have great art museums and foods from around the world, but it's totally different to experinece them authentically. Visit the village that Van Gogh lived in in the South of France and you will have a new found appreciation for his work. Learn to make hand-made pasta in Italy and the boxed stuff will never be good enough again.
There is a quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald that relates:
It's a funny thing about coming home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You realize what has changed is you.
This quote may be over-used and cliche by now, but it still rings true. Leaving your country will change you and it will change the way you view your home. You will still love your home, of course, but you will also sympathize with the world in a new way. You will be a citizen of the world (I know, so corny) first, and a citizen of your country second. Being global minded is the way of the future - don't get left behind.