MAKING MEMORIES ALL OVER THE WORLD…
“To travel is not to escape life but to ensure that life doesn’t escape us”
I am writing this blog entry on a train travelling up through Southern Italy on my way to catch a bus, to then catch a flight to Sicily tonight and if all goes to plan, we will arrive in time to eat dinner as the sun sets against the dramatic backdrop of a bubbling Mt. Etna.
Having worked our way through Malta, Gozo and Italy over the past few weeks, doing our best to avoid the tourist traps and living like locals, I find myself reflecting on how travelling is one of my favourite things to do. Summer is one of my favourite times to hang out in the Mediterranean and other than the occasional business trip, I haven’t had the pleasure of spending time here for over a decade… Hey, there is a big world out there with limitless possibilities for new adventures!
I am now nine months into my unconventional gap year, which you can read more about in one of my earlier blog articles (https://theevolutionof.me/2013/06/17/the-unconventional-gap-year/) and although summer is my favourite season, any day of any month is a good time of year to head out and see new parts of the world. Wherever I have been, I’ve made memories that will last a lifetime.
For me, one of the best elements of travel is the opportunity to meet different people from different places. People are certainly not all the same, everyone has their own way of communicating and when you take away the element of ‘language’, we have to learn new ways to interact and communicate with people who are different from us. Travelling and interacting with a variety of people helps to build or improve social skills with very little effort. It too can boost self-confidence, since ideas and opinions are able to be more clearly expressed, shared and understood.
Different cultures exist everywhere and as a Londoner, I’m accustomed to living in a multi-cultural environment but as at home, when I travel its standard practice to respect and observe the culture of the people and places I visit. Learning about the lives and customs of others deepens our understanding of ourselves and of our world. It teaches us respect and in many cases, is humbling.
Even if you live in a vibrant city and have an exciting job and active social life, nothing can replace the unique experiences travelling offers but be mindful of the fact that ‘travellers’ and ‘tourists’ are very different creatures!
Tourists exchange money for pre-packaged experiences. They consume experiences and move on without engaging with the local culture whilst those who travel are there to see things, not to buy them.
Visiting foreign places opens your eyes to how the rest of the world lives; allowing you to return home with a new appreciation for your own country while gaining a broader worldview in the process. Remember, you only live once, so don’t pass up a chance to travel – you will be opting out of a fast-track to personal development and may well be passing up a life-altering experience.
“The world is like a book; those who do not travel read only one page”