We have all grown up reading about places far away that we can only imagine. What have you studied in books that would change your perspective to personally experience? Perhaps it is a visit to the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Stonehenge, or Churchill’s Bunker. Seeing is believing! However, visiting such sites means packing a suitcase, making reservations, and getting on a plane. So why go to all this hassle? There are many benefits that make traveling relevant to our everyday lives.
Traveling Develops Tolerance
We all travel because we need to; distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we return home from an exploration, it is still the same home, but something in our minds has changed and those changes have power. When we travel, we observe that all people eat — but different foods prepared differently. We all wear clothes, but not all clothes are the same. We hear music, but music of our country may be very different from the music of other lands. We gradually become curious and above all more tolerant.
Travel Expands our Comfort Zones and Sparks Our Curiosity
We all travel on a daily basis: we go to the store, to work, to friend’s houses, to the bank, etc. But our daily travels are in surrounding areas we know and understand. They are what we call our comfort zones.
For thousands of years, people have been wondering and wandering because their curiosity becomes a driving force that often leads to discoveries of immense importance or to places of great awareness. When one considers all the great explorations that have been the events upon which modern civilization developed, it becomes clear that curiosity and travel are not modern inventions.
When I was a young child, my uncle Nelson brought a package of English stamps for me to put into my new stamp book. I found the images on the stamps exciting and fascinating and soon developed a determination that one day I would travel to distant lands. I was a child of five, but that passion became a dominant part of my personality as I grew older. I looked at travel books, and museum publications, and read family diaries and scrapbooks. I knew one day the images I had enjoyed in books would become reality and great satisfaction.
I have taken my own children all over the world with me because I want them to learn the difference between reading a book and the experience of enjoying the world first hand. There are fabulous books published about St Peter’s in Rome, but standing under Michelangelo’s magnificent dome in the Sistine Chapel and gazing on incomparable architectural masterpieces creates a moment in time that will be part of our memories for many years to come.
My son heard about the crown jewels all of his young life. But when he personally saw the Imperial State Crown in the Tower of London, his teenage mind couldn’t comprehend the 315 carat Second Star of Africa Diamond right before his eyes. How could a jewel really be that size? Seeing became believing, and now his children will have the same experience.
Travel Gives Real-World Experience
In the 18th and 19th centuries, English aristocrats sent their children with their tutors to the great classical cities like Rome, Florence, and Athens. The teachers had instructed their pupils in private residences, but the real learning took place when the fortunate students could experience the destinations they had learned so much about during their Grand Tours.
Parents are wise that understand their children will add to their classroom education by visiting those historical sites they have studied about in school. Imagine the difference your teenager will feel during their high school literature class when they have actually been to the Shakespeare Globe Theatre in London. BEST FIELD TRIP EVER.
Travel Expands Education by Bringing Books to Life
Travelers develop a sense of closeness to the world around them. Spending time in the middle of a rose garden is a very different experience than looking at a coffee table picture book about roses. Standing in the center of Trafalgar Square creates a reality instead of an imagination.
Studies show that students who have traveled in their developing years are better problem solvers, test higher on examinations, and are certainly more interesting to talk to. Traveling makes us more creative because we are less insular and endows us with valuable open mindedness which helps us realize that one thing can have multiple meanings.
Travel Strengthens Your Understanding of the World
Traveling creates a feeling of “closeness.” You understand what a rose is only when you feel its petals and smell fragrances no photograph can capture. Traveling creates the authentic experience while photographs and movies provide only synthetic copies. It is the essential habit of effective thinking.
Besides all of the reasons listed above, individuals who travel are interesting. They are so delightful to meet at a party. They have tasted cuisines, observed phenomena, met fascinating people, and gathered friends wherever they go. They think “outside the box!” They exude success, confidence, and relatability.
Traveling Creates Memories for All Ages
I was indeed fortunate in my early life because I had parents who wanted me to have hands-on experiences to enhance my learning and spark my curiosity. Our family listened to recordings of great music, but we also had season tickets to the Hollywood Bowl and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. My father watched football and basketball, but he dragged my brother and me to the actual games where the noise of the crowds and the dynamics of the competitions created amazing experiences. My grandmother had a recipe book, and she would study possibilities for an upcoming meal; but watching her create amazing dishes for our dinner table was a far richer experience than watching her looking at recipe books with many photographs. Listening to AIDA with my mother was very different than going with her to hear this amazing opera in Covent Garden.