After reflecting on my first solo overseas adventure back in 2012, I had a think about what has changed since then. I still love going on trips, but the way I travel has evolved and my world view is constantly reshaping.
Before I travelled, geography was a subject I laughed at. I only laughed at it because I didn’t understand it. I didn’t have any concept of a world outside of Australia. I had no idea what it was like to be in another country where English was not the main language, where people had different habits of eating, different history, different humour. I didn’t know where half our supermarket produce came from, or how the world has shaped our own country and its history.
I didn’t have any concept of the distance it would have taken for Europeans to cross the world to come and find Australia, or how treacherous the journey would have been. I didn’t realised how far the Romans spread their empire, or why the Vikings were such rugged people. I had never seen poverty on a large scale, nor had I really seen extreme wealth.
I didn’t really understand the world and now I’m beginning to understand it a bit more.
I have a lot more to learn. The more I travel, the more I realise how huge the world is and how much there is that I will never see. I didn’t realise what it felt like to be out of place, to feel like a foreigner, an outsider. I didn’t realise how hard it was to stumble along, trying to make yourself understood in a language that was not your own.
I also didn’t realise how many young people were travelling, exploring the world at such an early age. I didn’t realise how many kind and generous people there were in the world, but I also didn’t realise that some people have no morals and how some people will do just about anything to survive.
Travel makes me question things more, but it also makes me more accepting of other people’s way of life.
Most importantly, travel has made me realise how interconnected we all are. It has made me want to contribute more, even though I don’t always know how. It has made me treasure life and all that it has to offer. And it has made me more concerned and caring for the planet, because it is such a beautiful world and we only have one of it.
How has travel changed you?