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Learning Through Travel - Essay Example

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Learning Through Travel! Introduction One of the most enriching and meaningful ways a person can learn is through traveling. As I talked to some of my friends about this topic, I realized that many people don’t seem to see traveling as an educational experience…
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Download file to see previous pages Somehow, by the teens, a lot of people lose this valuable attribute. I feel that traveling is a great way to reawaken that dormant hunger for knowledge. When people think of traveling they usually think of vacationing and relaxing. However, traveling should be more than just a chance to ‘get away from it all.’ Traveling has the potential to be a transformative experience that deepens us as human beings. The wise traveler will not only have fun, he will seek ways to use his traveling experience to broaden and improve himself as a person and use the world as a classroom. If a travel book can change the very course of history, then there must be something very powerful about taking a journey to different places. I speak of one of the most important books every written; The Travels of Marco Polo. Polo’s book is credited with helping to spark the interest in the Far East which eventually set Columbus on his own voyage and led to the epochal Age of Discovery. In our own ‘voyages of discovery,’ I agree that three goals that every traveler might want to consider as they set out are; engaged citizenship, personal growth and cultural diversity. Everyone is a citizen of a country but not everyone is takes advantage of the fact. “In a democracy, citizenship is an aspect of stewardship,” as writer and commentator Jane Chastain puts it. Engaged citizenship means that a person appreciates and understands their role as a citizen and acts on it. This means being engaged and involved in the world around us. This is not limited to voting for a new chief executive every 4 years. We are connected to community at many levels; national, state, country, municipal and our neighborhoods. Many of us complain about improvements needed in our communities or nation, but do we do anything about it? Unfortunately, most people are too busy to be involved. Or it could be lack of knowledge as to how be involved? I found in my travels that even in countries with less freedom than we have, one can still be very involved in the cultural life of a nation or local community. The experiences I gained from travel had the potential to cause personal growth, but only if I allowed them to. The trick was to be sensitive to opportunities for growth, to have a hunger for knowledge and to allow my experiences to take me in new directions. To learn from your mistakes is a common lesson we are all admonished for. Each day offers opportunities to grow, whether we take full advantage of them is another matter. As John Steinbeck said in Travels with Charley, “A Journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” The Africans have a saying, “What is near is dear.” This is very true. However, the ability to encounter other cultures and to appreciate them is also important. Treasures abound throughout the world waiting to be discovered. Each culture claims unique characteristics and distinctly local flavors. And yet as a discerning traveler I discovered common traits as well, such as universal human needs and social constructs to meet them. But although each culture has similar needs and wants, different cultures have often developed fascinatingly unique ways of meeting them. Relating this to engaged citizenship, as an appreciative traveler, I, by my understanding and appreciation of other cultures, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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