Living in this modern day and age allows us to do many things, travel to destinations we can only dream of, explore the deepest of seas and reach for the stars (literally). Then why are people not taking advantage of this great opportunity to explore the unknown, to increase and expand one’s knowledge about the greatest gift we have been given, Earth. At the same time, with the continuously evolving technology, it allows us to explore the world without moving from the comfort of our home. Oh what a conflict, we’re basically all doomed. Here’s my take on one of my biggest passions, traveling, and why your travels will always be your greatest teacher.
I was lucky enough to have discovered traveling at a young age, it also helped that my parents are foreigners living in South Africa, which means that I get to go to the mother land (China) to visit family. Traveling never quite wowed me till a later stage because when I was younger, the focus was on how the long plane rides were uncomfortable and I would get really bad motion sickness. Let’s also admit that visiting family is not always the most exciting thing to do because you’re constantly surrounded by a bunch of adults and you couldn’t really decide on what to eat and what activities you wanted to do.
It wasn’t until I started traveling without my family that I really started to enjoy traveling because for the first time, you get to decide what YOU want to eat, what YOU want to see and what YOU want to do. At the same time, you were vulnerable because you are no longer in your comfort zone with friends and family at your beck and call. It made it even better later when I started spending my own money that I had made on my own so literally the sky, or shall I say my bank account, became the limit. That is when I could decide if I wanted to spend every single cent on a luxury designer handbag, which my dad would never have approved of, or a 7 course meal at some exotic 5 star location. The world is literally my oyster.
The best part doesn’t just end there though, it continues by way of experience. Traveling allows us to learn and understand things about the world that can only be felt by the heart. Our experiences shape and mold who we are as human beings today. Taking it one step further though, seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting and experiencing different parts of the world opens your mind to greater things than reading a book ever could allow. Practically speaking, there’s no better way to learn how to manage time, manage your finances, make difficult decisions and to deal with stress than to go travelling.
You become stronger as a person, not only with the vast amount of knowledge you have gained but you become more tolerant, more open minded with real understanding of other cultures beside your own. You become more resistant to certain circumstances because you had overcome obstacles on another side of the world on your own, without friends or family. Your become less ignorant. Less ignorant about the fact that not all Chinese people eat dogs and cats (it’s also a delicacy in certain parts of Korea), there aren’t only starving children in Africa alone, poverty is not the root to violent crimes, why communism is perfectly fine for certain countries and the fact that I’m Asian but I’m actually South African. We all love to describe others as ignorant but rarely acknowledge that ignorance lies in everyone. If you are speaking about it and you in fact haven’t experienced it yourself, in law we call that “hearsay”, which is often disregarded.
Now you may say, “What’s the rush? I have the rest of my life to go traveling”, but do you realistically? Are you going to take your small children to explore the pits of Vietnam and Cambodia, where tap water is not for drinking and to explore the beautiful Angkor Wat in 40 degrees heat? I think not. By then, I think a trip to Disney World is in order.
Now, isn’t it about time you allow yourself to be taught in the best way possible?
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