We’re fortunate, that we live in a day and age where experiencing other cultures is so accessible. There are countless opportunities to attend programs in other countries whether it’s as a school exchange, during summer vacation or in other capacities. More to the point, meeting people from other countries here in the US is no longer a novelty. At camp, every summer you meet other campers and staff from all over the world, each with their own story to tell.
So if you were given the option to visit three places in the world (time and money being no issue) where would you venture to?
It’s a tough question, right?!
How would it be possible to limit your choices down to just three places? What would you be sacrificing by only visiting three?
One suggestion of how to tackle this hypothetical opportunity is as follows:
- Choose one place that you will visit for personal fulfillment.
- Choose one place that you will visit to make a difference.
- Choose one place that you will visit to challenge yourself.
The truth is, where travel is concerned, simply visiting a foreign place only for the sake of visiting somewhere that’s beautiful, relaxing and with good weather is limiting. (That’s not to say a nice beach vacation isn’t enjoyable, it most certainly is. But with the opportunity to travel anywhere, it’s worth digging for great substance). Nothing is more powerful than knowledge and one of the most wholesome ways of acquiring knowledge is through travel.
When you travel, you expose yourself to foreign concepts and ideas. You meet people who have grown up with a different set of social norms and who view the world we live in through a different lens. When you travel, you immerse yourself in another language, another dialect and a history that you get to relive first hand by the very steps that you take. It’s not about just visiting museums, it’s about speaking to local people, asking questions, reading information that’s around you, researching where you want to go and what you want to do and uncovering the context in which those places exist.
Personal fulfillment: This might be visiting somewhere that links your history and heritage – discovering where your ancestors lived or currently live! It might be seeing something that is top of your bucket list of sites around the world to visit and experience. It might going in search of someone or something that you’ve always been a fan of. When you take a trip that personally fulfills you, you leave with more than just a set of experiences, you leave with an ambition that has been met.
Make a difference: Nothing will provide you with greater inspiration than being part of something that is bigger than yourself. Any kind of volunteering, charity work or service goes a long way. However, participating in a volunteer project that not only helps others but elevates your own sense of worth, will make you a lifelong giver and empower you to want to do more for others.
Challenge yourself: It’s only by stretching ourselves and stepping outside of our comfort zone that we’re able to feel accomplished. That doesn’t just mean skydiving and bungee jumping, but also going beyond your own emotional, social and psychological comforts. If you want the trip of a lifetime, why not try out doing something that scares you…just a little bit.