I have always thought that racism and nationalism in any form and religions do devide us travellers and the whole society into inter-fighting groups.
The old Roman tactics 'devide and rule' is pretty well used by the ruling (capitalist) class to keep their money and power and us as their (wage) slaves.
We should know better by now that patriotism and faith serve very well them but not us.
[ Edit: let's leave that sleeping dog rest please ]
How about political ideals? I think they can divide just as much as any of the things you mention. And they have been responsible for some of the worst power abuse we have encountered in the last 100 years.
An open mind is always crucial to being a traveller. What divides more than anything is stubborness, be it in racist attitudes, religious stereotypes, nationalistic/political ideals or otherwise.
Yes, the items you mention do divide groups of people and for many reasons. But, travelers as a whole tend to be a unique group of individuals. The have an inate want/need to expand their own horizons and discover new things. Racism, nationalism, patriotism, secularism, and many other "isms" may cause them to pause for a short period of time - deciding if an area is particularly (physically) safe for travel - but it does not stop them from venturing out. A person willing to visit different countries, meet new people, learn about new cultures, already is far more open minded and accepting than one who allows the "isms" to dictate what they do or where they go. Travelers tend to leave the "isms" at home. The more educated (about the world) a person becomes, the less influence particular groups have on them. Travel is a wonderful teacher, showing us that it is just a select few who wish to thrust their beliefs on everyone else. Nothing is black and white, and a good adventure just shows us all how brightly colored the world truly is - and reinforces the true meaning of a global society.
It's the language barrier that divides us as travellers.
I'll talk to anyone about anything (and probably bore them to tears in the process) regardless of race, religion or whatever.
But if we don't speak the same language, then there's no conversation.
Can't disagree with you more on that one! There are always ways around the language barrier. Lose some very important medicine for asthma in Bangkok, and you'll soon see what I mean. One of my favorite towns in Thailand is Aranyaprathet, where not terribly many people speak English, and those who do don't speak a lot of it. We had a great time with the people in that town, even though we couldn't "communicate" so to speak.
There are some things that are funny in any language (like some of the outfits you see in the Miss Universe pageant, which we watched in an open air restaurant while sharing some fruit). There are some things that are not funny in any language, like losing medicine to help you breathe.
Finding ways to get around that barrier is a part of the fun!
I've found that those of us, the nomadic-type, seem to be able to relate. Its a different mind-set. A different wave-length that we seem to be able to find as a source of common interest and thus are able to look past many other things that might speperate or segragate. 'Cuz on the other side, many people that I associate with daily - well - there just isn't that commonality. That something inside that drives and inspires.
As a traveller, I find that I go around and embrace other people's point of view. I am truly interested in experiences that have brought a person to the point that they are in life. As a fellow traveller that is. I am of the opinion that most of us that subsrcibe to this web-site are probably of a similar opinion and thus there is a very narrow curve with this topic.
'Technomad is a term coined by Steven Roberts to describe a nomadic person who remains connected through communications media during travel, exploration, and online nomadic living.' quote from Wikipedia. Probably a better term to desribe those of us subscribing to TP.