Depending on who you ask or your intentions or motives, travel can be construed as both. Travel does not always constitute going to a far-off land where you don’t speak the language and the customs are different, nor does it mean adopting a peripatetic lifestyle. Travelling can be as simple as driving to the coast and enjoying some personal time alone or with your family.
We will review travel based upon a few different perspectives: 1) education, 2) well-being, 3) view point, and 4) self-reflection.
Tons of colleges, universities, high schools, etc. understand there is a value as it relates to travelling for young people. As a fourteen-year-old girl, I experienced my first trip abroad to Ajaccio, Corsica and it changed my life. Visiting an unfamiliar land, took me out of my comfort zone to live with a family and be immersed in culture and language can be daunting. While I was in Ajaccio I relished in the experience of a culture unknown to me. During my stay, I built relationships with people I still have today. Those relationships manifested from an innocence of children who were naïve and had no concept of boundaries. As I reflect on that experience, it built a sort of confidence you cannot obtain anywhere else. The confidence to get on a plane by yourself and travel 5,685 miles away to a beautiful island, the confidence to converse and live amicably with another family, the confidence to effectively manage the money my family bestowed upon me doing my trip, and the confidence to be so far away from home.
My beautiful young daughter studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain in her freshman year of college. Her professor instilled an important saying, “Recordar es vivir,” which translates to remember is to live. She interpreted it as experience whatever you can and be open-minded to different experiences. Living abroad she learned how to manage her money while travelling and she was able to visit other countries during her break. My daughter and her classmates were able to visit Morocco, the Canary Islands, Paris, Rome, and explore other cities in Spain such as Sevilla and Zaragoza. She learned about the local history, politics, culture, food, increased her language skills, and gained many meaningful relationships from her time in Spain. She gained a lot of insight about Spain, specifically the price of living is higher than the wages, Barcelona wanting to separate themselves from the rest of Spain, eating dinner at 10pm or 11pm, and people in Spain drinking socially versus many Americans who tend to drink to get inebriated.
Every year millions of US Americans use paid time off (PTO) from their employers for some much-needed rest and relaxation (R&R). This often leads to planning a trip whether domestically, internationally or as some have coined it a “staycation.” For those who travel, they tend to visit different locales to unwind from the monotony of their stressful jobs. Going on vacation is a great form of therapy as it allows you to decompress and take a break from your normal routine.
As mentioned previously, travelling can change your viewpoint as having first hand knowledge is the best way to experience a domestic or international locale for yourself. For example, even though Ajaccio is part of the country of France it has a different vibe than a city like Marseille or Paris. In addition, in Ajaccio people tend to eat more seafood and have a more relaxed lifestyle. The island is filled with big beautiful cacti, palm trees, and aloe vera plants. A very befitting quote from Gustav Flaubert says, “Travel makes one modest. You can see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
Travelling also makes people reflect on themselves, their current situation, and their contribution to the entire world. When I initially started travelling, I wrote in a journal specifically because my grandmother told me to, but I hated it. Now, I read my journals and marvel about all the experiences I had and feeling limitless during that time. I had no concept of what it took to live and survive on my own, but I learned how to manage myself while abroad. Those are life skills that I learned at an early age and would recommend anyone to experience for themselves. When I reflect on myself and what I gain while travelling, I express the feeling of being blessed with what I have. I relish in the knowledge I have gained and will continue to gain from travelling abroad and the amazing people I have had the pleasure of meeting. They have given me a little perspective into their lives, which has been priceless and gives me perspective in the grand scheme of things of what is important and insignificant in life.
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