Pick up a world atlas or simply browse one online. Turn to the map of your state or province and see how small your area is compared to the whole state. Now, go to a map of your country and while your area may disappear, your “big” state or province becomes a small part of the country. Continue to a map of your continent. This time you may not find your state or province, and your “big” country becomes a small part of your continent. To finish, turn to the map of the world and what do you notice? Your country may not disappear, but your “big” continent becomes a “fraction” of the world.
This exercise demonstrates that you enlarge more and more your worldview as and when you travel far and wide.
The headline events of the past century and especially the explosion of the internet in the last decades have made you aware of the diversity of the world. However, no matter how well-informed you are about the world from your couches or armchairs, nothing beats jaunts to those places for firsthand experiences.
So in the following headings, we are going to see some reasons why you must travel a lot.
1. You get not only to know but also experience great places
The media (newspaper, radio, television, the Internet), people and books show and tell you about great places. But only through travelling can you get to really “feel” the world’s great places like the Hawa Mahal at Jaipur, in the State of Rajastan, India; Venice (Italy) with its gondoliers and their crafts on the many waterways; the Pyramid of the sun at San Juan Teotihuacan, not far from Mexico City (Mexico); Downtown Casablanca (Morocco), the chief port, with the Place Lyautey in the foreground; Mt. Cook, New Zealand’s highest Peak, and the Southern Alps seen across Lake Matheson, on the South Island; the American Falls at Niagara Falls, New York; and a typical mosque in Port of Spain (Trinidad & Tobago).
2. You get to know many different people, and as they really are
Travelling is a great way to widen your circle of friends and increase your understanding of others.
My many travels have enabled me to make lots of intimate friends in many countries of the world. The close relationships we have couldn’t have been possible otherwise.
While living in Africa I hardly came into contact with white people (and never even thought of it) because we lived in different communities inherited from colonialism. But when I went to Germany for instance, I made many friends with whom I shared many loved moments. This made my perception of white people as aloof or all racist to crumble.
Some time ago, I watched a TV documentary of a French television crew which went to Mali (Africa) to film an illiterate mechanic completely dismantle an old car’s engine, repair it and assemble it again. As the roaring car disappeared into the fading distance, they concluded that the African was also capable of technological and technical achievements.
Many such instances exist to tear down barriers built by false perceptions and make people appreciate each other.
3. You get to experience more cultures and customs, and be better able to relate to different people
I once paid a visit to a friend in a rural zone in the north of Ghana, a neighbouring country. As custom demands, he had to take me to all the members of his extended family. I was surprised to have us well served at the first place. But greater was my surprise to be equally well welcomed at the other two places. We came back to my friend’s house with him disappointed with me and me too full and a big angry with him for not even giving me a hint about what to expect.
In effect, in my friend’s area it is an obligation to serve a visitor food and an honour when the visitor eats well. So I did honour to the first home and less so to the second. However my inability to eat at the third was viewed as my not appreciating their meal and my decision to cut the visits short a disgrace to my friend with his family members.
This custom exists in my area to some extent. Any visitor must be offered water to drink before asking them the reason for their visit. But you are not obliged to drink some or all of the water if you don’t feel like it. You simply take a sip or touch the container (cup, calabash, etc.) and your behavior will not be interpreted as snobbery. But to say no is tantamount to “insulting” your host.
4. You widen your horizon
An American friend came to visit me in Togo and I took him to Région des Plateaux, the famed tourist centre of my country. This is also the agricultural zone of Togo. We visited a farm where one can buy fruits harvested right before one.
“Is this a real pineapple?” my friend asked, staring strangely at the fruit the farmer had sliced from the plant and handed to him.
“Why?” I asked in surprise.
“It wasn’t harvested from a big tree,” he said lamely.
I laughed my head off.
“For its size and weight, I thought pineapples grew on trees,” flushed, my friend explained.
The curious farmer laughed his head off too when I explained our conversation to him. He offered to show my friend pineapple plants at various stages of development.
In the same way, you love mutton but I think you will appreciate it more when you visit a sheep herding region in Australia, for instance; the same is true for cotton clothes when you visit the cotton farms of Sao Paulo in Brazil; coffee when you see farmers drying coffee under the tropical sun in Colombia; chocolate when you witness farmers removing the nuts from the pods (the first stage of processing chocolate) at a cocoa plantation in Côte d’Ivoire (West Africa); canned pineapples when you see pineapples on their way to the cannery in Puerto Rico, etc.
5. You experience another environment
Germany was the first European country I had visited. My ardent desire in winter was to see, and especially experience, snow. One dark winter night, an excited friend called to tell me snow was falling. I jumped out of bed, rushed outside and arms outstretched tried to catch the flakes falling from the sky. A passing German couple walking their dog flashed me amused smiles.
While I hate the “harmattan,” the dry hot wind which blows from the Sahara right down to the coast of West Africa, bringing a lot of dust and making the mornings and evenings chilly and the day scorching, a French expatriate friend found it exotic because of the fog it brings in the morning and the hue in the evening.
6. You live “great” world history
You may feel awe on hearing about (from a person or on the radio) or seeing (in the newspaper, on the television or the Internet) the pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal of India, the ancient buildings (castles, cathedrals, chateau) of Europe, museums, the castles of West Africa (slave history), the plantations of America (slave history), monasteries, and the great standing tree sculptures of the Indians of America, but a visit to the places where they are found is a totally different experience.
7. You get hospitable climates
Well-to-do people in tropical climates often go overseas when the hot climate becomes torrid and it is not a secret for anybody that people in temperate climates also rush to places where they can enjoy the sun and the warm sea.
There are many other reasons why people should travel far and wide. But I think these 7 are enough to let you pack your luggage if you had never gone on a journey or pick up your baggage again soon if you have been on one.
You don’ have the money to travel?
Maybe you are not working yet (you’re a student or out of work) or you don’t earn much so you cannot go on a journey. Don’t worry. You can earn it through simple work from home opportunities you can do in your spare time. These include data entry, taking surveys, signing up for affiliate businesses, doing MLM, network marketing, freelance writing, call centre agent, etc.
Wondering where to stay?
Accommodation comes in all sizes and prices. The resource box below gives you a place to turn to when looking for a place to stay which suits your circumstances and your budget. The company cited has rooms for you at all destinations in the world.