Beyond Horizons

Travel – An Endless Romance (Part-2)

Travel – An Endless Romance (Part-2)

Henry Miller once said,

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things”.

This is even more so in the case of children. In the recent session, “Cultural Tolerance Through Effective Intercultural Communication” that I had conducted at the TESOL Arabia 2020, I had briefly touched upon how we can teach children to respect diversity. One of the ways to inculcate in children appreciation and regard for different cultures and countries is through travelling. Travelling need not considered as extravagant trips abroad or far away places; it can even be to nearby spots that are known for their uniqueness and their charm. Parents who imbibe the love for travelling in their children may find it easier to introduce their children to experiment with unknown food (cuisines), global traditions and languages.

For children who are from affluent families, travel also means the possibility of the realization that there are so much distress and sorrow outside the gilded homes they live in. Travel is a way of making them more down to earth and conscious of reality. During one of my friend’s vacation trips to her home town, her children experienced the hardships of floods. In the process, her son got an experience to help out the elderly and the sick into rescue boats with the Army Rescue Teams. Now, this was an invaluable experience for her teenage son, who till then had only seen affluence and comfort. That trip brought out a new maturity in the young man regarding the world he was a part of and how much he could help others in need.

Through travel, the comprehension of languages and cultures encourages the feelings of empathy towards the world too. We gain new perspectives of the people whose language we learn in-depth, and this gives us insights into how their culture came to be what it is today. Most cultures evolved over centuries of interactions with the outside world, warring factions and natural evolution of the lifestyle of their people. One of the best ways we learn about land and people is through their museums. Some of my best memories of travel are from my visits to the museums of the places I visit. My daughter still fondly talks about the visit to the Rembrandt Museum in Amsterdam when she was 7 (not to forget the bicycle ride when I dropped her during that trip!)

Travelling can encourage us to learn to trust people too (unless experiences prove otherwise). This is especially in the case of those who generally mistrust strangers. During travel, we may come across several instances where we may need the assistance of those who are strangers. I remember ten years ago during a trip to Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu in India when I had hopped onto the wrong bus, and I had to immediately get off since a kind stranger advised me that my destination is a wrong one. With my broken Tamil, my language would have posed a challenge to most native speakers I interacted with. Yet my trip to Chidambaram remains as one of the most enlightening trips that I’ve made on my own.

It was during this same trip that I had become a recipient of unexpected kindness from a stranger. Travelling undoubtedly can nurture the importance of appreciation in our attitude to the world we are a part of. After one particularly exhausting day of work, I was least bothered to eat my lunch. To my pleasant surprise, a kind lady insisted on taking me out to lunch. Her appreciation and concern for a stranger (that I was to her), was indeed inspiring and a reminder to how much more I can appreciate people around me and whom I come across.

Travelling can foster breathtaking creativity too. On Instagram, the talented creator of Natsukashi Bakes recently posted a cake that was created based on admittedly the fond memory of a holiday trip she had made to Kyoto, Japan a few years ago. Her cake’s design had an influence of charming Kyoto with a picturesque Japanese garden, a Koi fish pond and even a serene figurine of Buddha in deep contemplation. Apart from the inspiration her trip had on her cake, her comprehension of the culture and its roots will also have got enhanced through this trip. For, e.g., the Koi fish is revered in the Japanese and Chinese culture as a symbol of perseverance and determination.

A few weeks earlier prior posting the “Kyoto Cake” (as I like to call this cake), she had recreated her holiday trip to Seychelles through her “Island Cake”. Her inspiration had been the breathtaking view of the aquamarine waters and sea life of beautiful Seychelles that she got during a paragliding adventure during that memorable trip.

As a personal development professional and lifestyle consultant, I would promote travel as a powerful investment for development, growth and progress. Every trip teaches us something that we may not even be conscious of, inspiring us to to be a better version than whom we were.

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