Sometimes we forget how lucky we are. Over the course of my life I have been able to travel to over 40 countries. My parents introduced me to travel when I was young and I’ve also had several jobs that included a lot of travel. It’s become my passion and an important a part of my life. I have been able to meet amazing people and learn about the world through travel. Sadly, not everyone has this opportunity. I wanted to reflect a bit about why travel is important for everyone, and maybe help more people actually do it.
Note: Images in this post were provided by FLYTE.
Understanding Cultural Differences
They say travel broadens the mind. I have encountered many other cultures thanks to my travels. Of the places I have been, I found Japan’s culture to be the most unique. Maybe it’s because they are an island nation, or possibly a result of history, but for whatever reason, their way of life is unique. It’s a gift and one they rightly cherish. After spending time Britain and then moving to England, I realized that even though we share the language, it is very different from the US. I still haven’t got my head round some British humor yet! It is important to understand these differences between countries, respect and celebrate them. Without visiting other places, you might not even realize these differences exist.
Trying Different Cuisines
Wherever you go in the world, one thing that unites us and divides us at the same time is food. We all have to eat, but the food is an important part of the culture of any country and as you’d expect, it varies enormously. Food is an extension of the culture and in some cases the way to a person’s heart. I like to take the time to get familiar with the local cuisine, so I have tried many different foods during my travels. I loved wandering around the local food market in Riga. From having dim sum in Hong Kong to making pintxos in San Sebastian, I have loved pretty much every bite.
Real Life History Lesson
Travel has helped me understand history. I didn’t realize how little they actually teach in school. Nothing against my teachers, there is just so much to learn about the history of the world. Visiting the spots where the history happened makes it come to life. It’s mind-boggling sometimes to think about all that has happened over the years at places like the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, and Edinburgh Castle.
Making Friends Across the Globe
I have met wonderful people around the world and been fortunate enough to make friends as far apart as Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and Europe. That creates problems itself of course, as I wish I was able to spend more time with my friends across the globe, but it’s a nice problem to have!
Why Travel is Important
The opportunity to travel has unquestionably enriched my life. I have been able to experience things that I would never have been able to without traveling. There are so many life lessons I learned while traveling. I do think the world would be a better place if more people had the opportunity to go abroad and visit another country. People would understand others better and the differences would seem smaller. That’s why travel is important for everyone.
More People Should Have the Opportunity to Travel
I know travel is a privilege but since it has been such a constant in my life it is easy to take it for granted. Travel is not cheap and not everyone can afford it. Some may have other restrictions that keep them from traveling. Those who have never traveled don’t know what they are missing.
I want others to be able to have some of the same experiences that I have had. That is one of the reasons I started this blog. Providing information is not enough for some people though because they don’t have the resources. That’s why I am helping fundraise for the non-profit FLYTE, the Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education.
FLYTE promote the benefits of travel, education, and cultural awareness through the creation, funding, and management of overseas trips for students in underserved communities. Just like I do, they believe that every student deserves a chance to expand his or her global education regardless of their socio-economic status.
FLYTE partners with schools in low-income communities across the United States to provide high school students (between the ages of 14-18) the chance to study abroad. It could be a trip to study ecology in Costa Rica, language in Spain, or even see D-Day beaches first hand. FLYTE provides funding for the programs abroad and works closely with educators to prepare an itinerary and academic plan that aligns with their academic mission.
Students are required to document their trip, and complete projects to demonstrate how it relates to their coursework. FLYTE provides training, works closely teachers throughout the entire process, and also does debriefings following the trip.
FLYTE’s 2018 Partner School
Here’s a sneak peek at the itinerary for their trip:
- Walk through the cobblestone streets of Antigua
- Taste all the local street foods at the Chichicastenango Market
- Climb one of the many volcanoes outside Antigua
- Visit Quetzaltenango (Xela) and the Fuentes Georginas Hot Springs
- Volunteer at local organizations on Lake Atitlan, such a women’s cooperatives & social enterprise NGO’s
It sounds like an amazing trip to me! This is not just a chance to send a group of students on a trip, it’s an opportunity to break down barriers, fight prejudices and foster empathy and connectedness during these times of fear and division. These youth will be able to see the diversity of people and experiences our world has to offer.
How You Can Help Too
From now until May 26th, 2018 I am fundraising to help send the Victor School students to Guatemala. I hope you will support this important cause. Every donation (no matter how small) will help FLYTE continue their transformative work with the future generation.
- $25 can provide all pre-trip materials for one student
- $50 can buy a student a day-tour in the country they are visiting
- $120 can pay for a students’ passport application and fees (that they can use for years to come!)
- $250 can buy all of the meals for one student the whole trip
- $500 can cover all the accommodations for two students
- $2,500 can sponsor a whole trip for a student
Thank you for your donation, together we can make a difference.
Can you imagine a life without travel? How has travel enhanced your life?
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