Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.Mark Twain
Traveling is becoming more of a necessity to us. But what good does it do to us by going across borders frequently?
I’ve came across an funny anecdote about traveling when talking to a Japanese friend of mine: many Japanese, while living on a shoestring, can tolerate living in dilapidated houses, going to bed stomachs empty– but not a year without traveling! His words really struck a chord with me: traveling is becoming vital parts of our lives, like food and water. This, I believe, has a lot to do with the unique impacts traveling brings about.
- It shows you how big the world is
Traveling is an experiment of placing oneself in the shoes of a stranger local to the community, and glance, through their lens, the foreign pace of living and atmosphere.
When I visited countries in Europe, one thing I noticed right away is the slower pace of life. It took time for me to learn to wind down and synchronize with them. The truth is, there are drastically paces of living around the world, and not all people are so horrifyingly quick as Hong Kongers are. I came to know not everyone lives in an environment with such a heavy emphasis on time-efficiency and work-till-you’re-dead culture.
The world is able to accommodate more than one way of living. Travelling reminds you “lunch” isn’t always fried rice and spaghetti, “language” isn’t merely Chinese and English, “work” doesn’t exist merely in skyscrapers, and, most importantly, “school” doesn’t merely take place in “classrooms”–the world itself is a convoluted yet scintillating textbook awaiting your exploration.
2. It has the power to reshape your future
Travelling does possess transformative abilities beyond your wildest imagination. My cousin, a dedicated accountant, converted into a full-time photographer after a visit to the Amazon Rainforest. To him, the tour was an undertaking to test how much he really loved photography. The spectacular photos he left with speaks volumes of his ability and love of shooting pictures at the most amazing places around the world, the “privilege” only a full-time photographer enjoys.
For me, upon visiting Hungary and committing myself to two weeks of education-related volunteering work in the rural areas, I realized how fervent my urge to share every moment of my tour with others and spread the values of voluntourism. I became more engaged in related organizations and reached out to more people who hope to spread the importance of traveling and volunteering. Going abroad is like staring into the mirror, steering me to further develop my skills and make up for my deficiencies.
3. It stretches you to your limits and excavates your weaknesses
A new environment comes with new challenges. If you successfully conquer them, it adduces to your ability of being an adaptable person. Even if you get defeated by these challenges, you get to recognize shortcomings unbeknownst to you before.
When I visited Tai O, I have to prepare a banquet for over 40 elders on the last night of the stay. Just picturing the scale of the dishes we have to prepare was enough to make me tremble on my feet. Having tried to organize the whole event, I became aware how much dedicated planning and flawless execution had to go in to the whole procedure, from foraging for the ingredients to the division of labor in the kitchen.
Seeing how little I could help out in the kitchen with my abysmal cooking skills, I started delving into recepies to pick up the skills for a few other dishes aside from instant ramen. It also reminded how little experience of working outside the setting of a classroom I had, prompting me to explore more of such opportunities and exploring my role along the way.
To conclude, I would like to draw upon a quote I appreciated very much:
” Travelling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”Quote from a Quora response on “Is travelling good for you?”