Personal Essay: The Value in Traveling

How do young people benefit from getting out of their houses and exploring the world?

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

A beautiful truth recognized by J. R. R. Tolkien that speaks for those who relish the exhilarating thrill of a nomadic lifestyle, never tied down by commitments and doubts of the average life. It may not be quite the ideal cup of tea for everyone, but the perspectives globetrotters have to offer us give us tales of other worlds, both distant and far.

Undertaking a journey to a foreign land may seem daunting to some at first. But eventually, you crave the novelty of new cultures, cuisine, people, and activities. It lends a sense of self-fulfillment and broadens our horizons; we leave behind our inhibitions and find new routes to take, to explore oneself, create an identity that is only yours alone, nobody else’s.

This self-hood is nurtured at home, where childhood and adolescence are spent with heaps of memories with friends and family in that oh-so-familiar neighbourhood.

Then, the time comes for the fledgling to leave the dam, and explore the wider world – being shaped and moulded to be who we are today by stereotypes, pre-conceived notions and disbelieving assumptions of society, gender, race and religion.

But there’s always home to come back to after a hard day. And being far away makes us long for the tiny comforts of nativity. Familiarity of those lanes, vendors, voices and words becomes significant once we’ve chosen the strange life, food, tongue and sounds of abroad. It allows us to appreciate what we’ve left behind, the home, our people with wistful nostalgia, and even the small souvenirs that only home can give – the scent of the age-old books you own or the cosy softness of the pillows you haven’t slept in for so long.

With travel, people change and opinions change. We are no longer hedged in by the confines of limited thought but rather free to let our imagination roam and graze the fields of culture that spans the globe. We acquire knowledge and perspective through first-hand experiences.

We realize that we are more than what society says we are, and we are more similar than we think we are. Because at the end of the day, all of us simply need a hand of friendship, of comfort, of love to keep us going. Wants are trivial, and our needs are few; travel shows us that all of mankind can stand together in unity because no matter the color of our skin, we are all in the core of being, the same – with the beating of a heart, echoing the desire for happiness.

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