The Power of Travel

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This week two remarkable events happened that solidified my love and justification for travel with children.

I spoke with my neighbor about his recent visit to the Holy Land of Israel. There is an upcoming trip in January my parents may take, and I wanted to get his insight. He spoke of the emotional experience, wonderful food, and the beautiful landscape and sites. I asked, “Didn’t you feel unsafe?” He explained the layout of the land, people of all different nationalities coexisting, and the friendliness of the people. Just the normalcy of taxi cabs, dining, and going to a mall during free time. His response, “Anything could happen there just like here.”

What I see on television does not embody Israel. I see the war, the disruption, hate, and violence from a small area in Gaza. Unless I have traveled to Israel or talked to someone who has, my misperception would have been the same. Only by someone experiencing Israel would I have really understood. I attended a conference last year and the Director of Tourism of Jordan and Colombia said they also are trying to change the perception. It is true about traveling to know a culture or people.

You can’t believe what you see on television. As a southerner, I too wouldn’t want people to not come to Charleston, South Carolina because of a perception Southerners are all racists, dumb, or slow. That couldn’t be more incorrect, yet I was doing the same for other places based on information on television.

Secondly, we were traveling and doing some water sports with the kids. My children became very frustrated and wanted to give up. They were out of their comfort zone and controlled environment. We were asking them to do something they had not done, and it was hard. Just like life. The captain was patient, kept forcing them to keep trying, and while at times I just wanted to say, “It’s ok. Just come in the boat, and we will figure it out.” I just kept my mouth closed and let it happen.No one was in danger of anything but a bruised ego from not getting it on the first try.

In travel, we sometimes are forced to remove ourselves from those things that we have settled into.

Not only that, but the same people, school curriculum, planned sports, etc. sometimes do not allow for self-discovery. To an extent, yes there is success and failure, but seeing and doing something unfamiliar can be best experience in travel. I give lectures to educators about free play in the classroom and how we have moved away from letting kids play, figure it out, and learn to deal with situations as they come up in natural occurrences. Travel is much the same, or it should be. Removing ourselves from a screen to see life with our senses may be the best experience we can ask to teach our children and ourselves. So wander where you can, and make the most of it. After all, you can’t judge the world by what you see on a screen, but rather what you see.

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