Daydreamed or Instagrammed lately? Seen your Facebook newsfeed? Chances are you saw a travel image, maybe a tropical island, bustling metropolis like New York or London or a lush rainforest of South America? Travel is amazing and opens many opportunities, giving you more experiences and promoting tolerance and respect. However travel is not always easy and there are some things to be aware of before you leave.
– By Simon Chitre
Travelling is a life changing experience, and I guarantee anyone you speak to will agree to this statement. I have been very fortunate that I started travelling from a young age of 10. I lived in France for four to five months and went to school there too! I can definitely say the younger you start travelling the better, as it opens your eyes to new experiences and ensures children are more open minded and tolerant citizens. In an ever-changing global world, with many different cultures and nationalities, we are more diverse than ever. This is truly important and children need to realise we are all human beneath skin colour, socio-economic status and clothing. Travelling to different countries allows one to see other cultures, and that Australia’s way of life is not necessarily how others live and the latter is not necessary the ‘right’ way of living.
Further, if you live abroad you will notice changes in how you adapt to situations, and find you are able to talk to strangers more readily and be open to new experiences. Living abroad has many pros, including giving you a career boost; employers often admire people who have worked overseas, making new friends and trying a new culture. There can also be downsides, depending on the country. The cost of living can be quite high, and there are a lot of paperwork to think about, such as opening bank accounts, organising cell phones, visas and sometimes speaking in a another language. Most people will not know family or friends in the country to ask for support, and it can be difficult to make friends, so loneliness and isolation may ensue. So it is important to stay positive and take as many opportunities as possible to socialise.
For a completely different experience and to see first hand some of the world issue’s of poverty, abuse and corruption at play, try travelling to a developing country. It is only once you have seen people in abject poverty that you truly have a greater appreciation for how good life is. A trip to a region in Africa, Asia or Latin America may inspire you to donate to a worthy charity seeking to make positive changes to the people in these regions.
Volunteering in a developing country can also be a great way to use your skills (or make new ones) to help people less fortunate as yourself, including building schools in Cambodia or helping rescue sea turtles in Costa Rica. You will gain a sense of satisfaction and positive wellbeing that you have contributed to society. The downside is often such volunteering programs are expensive and there may be culture shock, being in conditions less comfortable than at home. These projects can have a more tangible effect as they are delivering practical results to disadvantaged communities, whereas donating to charity can have a detached feeling.
I feel the world is an amazing, massive place and you should start exploring! So think big, dream big and live big and go get lost in this amazing planet!
Featured Image by Shutterstock; Costa Rica Turtles by Laura Howell; Cambodia Housing Image by Raw Impact.