Hi friends. Continuing on from my new travel series of what “Travelling teaches you”, I thought it would be nice to introduce you to a few of the experiences I had in Italy, and share pictures of some of the beautiful sights. I hope you enjoy, and would love it if you wanted to share your own travel experiences in the comments below. Ciao, bella! 🙂 ❤ x
To start with, here is a picture I took on approach to Lake Como, August 2018:
Travelling teaches youthat ‘selfies’ aren’t always best 😉 That is to say, travelling teaches you to look out for others, and to discerningly allow others to look out for you.
It might be a little ‘tongue in cheek’ to use the example of breaking away from the ‘selfie’ approach, and asking a kindly stranger or fellow traveller to take a photograph of you, and maybe even to return the favour for them, which will create an end result of a wider panorama and view of your surroundings, and a fuller picture of yourself as an individual. Of course, I am referring to more than just the potential picture that you may come away with, but to the experiences of life themselves. However, I have found on my travels that offering to help others, or accepting help (and obviously being wise and safe in who you approach or allow to approach you), and commonly through taking pictures, opens up doors of interactions and exchanges that enrich your experience. In offering to help others, even in simple ways, you might find yourself in conversation with locals, learning something new about the place or people living there, or about fellow sojourners. Sometimes it is good to go it alone, but we also thrive in these simple exchanges with other people along the way. (c).
Travelling teaches you the importance of Home. Perhaps this in itself is a challenge to some of us. It is beautiful and inspiring to get away and explore the world. However, there are inevitably challenges and annoyances along the way no matter what we do. Moving from place to place, living out of a suitcase at times, being in unfamiliar territory or out of our comfort zone, or simply not being somewhere that is our ‘own’, of living in a constant state of the temporary, of moving, shifting, changing, can give us a deeper longing for and appreciation of Home. Yet, perhaps some of us, especially those of you who have spent years ‘on the road’ (something I haven’t yet done) find the idea of ‘Home’ a strange and transient concept, and maybe you don’t have a place where you feel ‘rooted’ to.
As much as I love adventure and travel, there is a sense of comfort, security and cosiness in knowing that I have a place of my own to return to, more importantly, I have people I love, family and friends that I can come back to and share my experiences with even if it is just a glimpse into the new worlds I or they have encountered. I find that I appreciate little things more, such as food or drink that would ordinarily be part of my daily life but that I don’t have on my travels, or the familiarity of language, and of shared experiences that go beyond the temporary excitement of travel, and that go back perhaps years with those who are nearest and dearest to me.
Yet, maybe ‘Home’ is not a place for you to return to, maybe your concept of home is different to mine, maybe you live a more ‘nomadic’ existence and you find other ways of embracing comfort and bringing familiarity into your life. If you do, I would love to hear about them. ❤ (c).
Travelling teaches you that there is so much more to life to be explored, discovered and experienced that you had ever though possible, and that there are so many opportunities out there to expand your horizons. It teaches you to think beyond what you are used to, to challenge yourself not to stagnate, and to bring these lessons back into your everyday life. Don’t get stuck in a rut, or think that just because the people around you may not be able to see beyond the confines of their day-to-day routine that you also have to limit your vision. Get out there, see new things, do new things, challenge yourself, and never stop learning or growing ~ travelling is such a great life teacher, so if or when you get the opportunity, with wisdom, go for it. (c) ❤
Travelling teaches youthe importance of connection, and of non-verbal communication.
On a basic level, when you’re in a country in which you are unfamiliar with the language, a phrase-book and basic preparation can only take you so far. Many of us take it for granted that someone we meet will speak English, however, even if they do, that doesn’t mean that they will understand your accent, meaning or dialect and vice versa.
Somehow we find a way, and practically speaking, we find other ways of communicating in order to realise our basic needs ~ perhaps one may point, gesture, use facial expressions and / or other non-verbal cues. (As a side note, I am aware, and admit that I speak with a lack of knowledge of how people with sensory impairments manage such challenges, and I apologise for that fact, and welcome any of your insights).
However, communication as a human being goes beyond getting basic needs and wants met. Integral to our humanity is the need for connection with other people, on a deeper level than that of the content of our conversations. And sometimes travelling teaches us this in a way that is unique to any other experience. Travelling teaches us, that as important as language is, we share the ability to connect and communicate as human beings even when words are not spoken or understood. We find a depth and a richness to things that we may have previously taken for granted, such as eye contact, a gentle touch, a gesture of kindness, or even silently enjoying a shared experience (such as watching a beautiful sunset) with a stranger, with whom there is no other means to communicate, other than with the heart.
Travelling teaches you the innate communication of humanity, of shared existence and that we all are Created by the same Hand, and can share the deepest communication by simply being, and ‘speaking’ with the heart. (c).
Travelling teaches you to be curious. To see as if for the first time, and to explore your new surroundings with a childlike openness. It also reminds you that you may have become a bit ‘jaded’ in your everyday life and routine, and have grown weary so that you no longer notice the wonder of what is around you. Sometimes it is nice to overhear tourists in your own town talking about their experiences, and with the world of the Internet, it is so easy to find out what people from other countries and cultures think of your country or the place you live.
Just as you allow yourself to be curious, attentive and aware when you travel to new places, try to see your everyday life with fresh eyes when you return. Think of yourself as a traveller in your own town, village or city, and imagine that you are seeing things once more for the first time. Never stop learning, never stop being curious, and never stop living life with a childlike wonder…. ❤
Travelling Teaches You to challenge your preconceptions. We often go into a situation failing to realise that we are looking at life and viewing our new experiences through the lens of our cultural and societal conditioning. It would be hard not to do so, and it’s not necessarily ‘wrong’. However, travelling is a perfect opportunity to take off those metaphorical glasses and try wearing those of another culture for a change.
Perhaps a specific example might help to illustrate my point. Before I went to Italy a couple of weeks ago (not for the first time), I did a bit of research online. As well as looking at guide books and videos I also watched ‘vlogs’ by real Italians, and read travellers comments and thoughts from sites such as ‘TripAdvisor’ and I gleaned some insights that actually came to mind when I was in Italy. One particular learning point occurred when I was reading comments from someone who had been upset at the seemingly ‘rude’ behaviour of Italian shop owners who ‘refused’ to give this person their change in their hands, but instead left it on the counter top. The person struggled with it and felt like they were being treated rudely. As someone from a visible minority I am aware that such experiences for me might trigger negative feelings and memories of being treated unfairly or in a prejudicial manner. However, as I read on, I saw responses to this person’s comment saying that this was not unusual practice, and might even be considered polite. When I encountered this myself a week later, I could smile to myself remembering the insights that I had gleaned earlier.
In short, different cultures do things differently. One behaviour might seem ‘rude’ or uncaring to someone whereas it might be the standard of politeness to another. Things are not always as they seem, so be aware of the cultural ‘tint’ in your glasses, and try on another pair for a change on your travels from time to time 🙂
(Do you have any examples from your own travels or experience of times when you have been challenged to think outside of the lens of your cultural conditioning?)