Why Travel?

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By Jessica Cunnington

                                                             Why I Travel

           Traveling can be one of the most eye-opening, challenging, and memorable opportunities to have in life. It provides reflection, peace, and positivity to whoever might decide to leave the comfort of their home to a experience a completely new way of life. The part of traveling that is the most exciting is the journey getting to the destination. The airports are bustling with people going to and from different places, at varying walking speeds. There is always a sense of urgency when traveling, this comes in the form of double and sometimes triple checking your boarding pass, passport, and visa. It’s almost a feeling of mania that overcomes the mind, due to the excitement and nervousness that comes along with going to a new place. But most importantly, the reason why I travel is to provide myself with a vulnerable, but yet educational experience of a new culture, language, and religion.

            While on the journey to a new place, one might have expectations of what this unfamiliar place may be like.  This can come in the form of various stereotypes that can encompass a countries traditions and cultural practices. Even though there are many who “leave their assumptions at home and those who don’t (143). When experiencing these from a different perspective, it allows for one to see “the world clearly, and yet feeling it truly (142).” This the part is the most eye opening because we see things we aren’t used to seeing, like sheep being skinned for the Eid-Al-Adha. It’s almost as if you’re heart and mind widen by “leaving all my beliefs and certainties at home, and seeing everything I thought I knew in a different light (143).” These new experiences almost squash every stereotype or previous thought that is brought from our home country. It gives us a new found appreciation for what we’ve seen, and with that comes acceptance.

            It’s without a doubt that traveling is a challenging experience since “we carry values and beliefs and news to the places we go, and in many parts of the world (144).” This is one of my favorite parts of traveling because with our beliefs we are able to discuss them with others we meet in the different places we travel too. We become more free, since being “abroad is the place where we stay up late, follow impulse, and find ourselves as wide open as when we are in love (145). Traveling provides a place to challenge oneself in conversations with others who might have differing views than them. I was able to have quite a few conversations like this with one of the Moroccan college students. To my surprise, we had a lot more in common with our beliefs than I would have thought. This broke every expectation and skewed thought I had about the culture and religion of Islam. I had never experienced something more beautiful than being in the presence of a Moroccan man, who is Muslim, and was raised in a completely different environment than me. Even with these situational aspects that might seem like a barrier, we were able to talk about equality of sexes and the importance of God. We were breaking barriers just by sitting on a park bench together. 

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