Travel: A Unique Experience in Life
If you see banana skins around every corner, world travel will not be an experience of life. It will reduce you to nervous wreck and you would hate your experience but if you agree with Tennyson, you would celebrate with us:
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
Make Your Travel a Unique Adventure
Try to have unique experience of the world in your travel. There are many ways of doing this. I am not referring to the daring things people do. Just something that is out of your ordinary routine or ordinary choices. Try out new food, talk to people you have never encountered before or go to places that are new to you.
Go for experiences. Build memories. You can do this by taking more risks, talking to locals, going to some of the local places not often visited by tourists.
A Journal of Your Travel Experience
If you haven't yet, start now. We have not really started journals of our travel experience. Now, at least, I write a few articles on some of these trips including interesting pictures and experiences. Memory fades of places and names are often interchanged. Keep a record of your experience. If you have not yet started, get yourself a travel journal. You will treasure it as age progresses.
Put your pictures and experiences together in a book. One of our friends did a book of their visit to Cambodia. It was a very personal coffee table book that you can show your friends as you share your experiences in your trip. It was a great memory of their experience which I think they will always treasure.
How Travel Entered my Life
I started traveling to other countries later in life. I was in my late thirties when I started to take work that required a very long commute, like 17 hours or more in a plane. Before that, I was busy building my career and doing good work.
One day, I attended a workshop on visualization and affirmation. I just could not believe what I was hearing and more so when the workshop leader shared her own experience in traveling to Jerusalem, her lifelong dream.
Having not travelled at all outside of my own country, I hadn't really thought of a dream destination let alone really considered "that untravelled world". It was not even in my dreams. However, I was intrigued by the idea of visualization and I had nothing to lose by just thinking about it and picturing a sunlit upland.
Visualizing my First Overseas Travel
So, I started. I visualized myself going up in a plane with my suitcase. I affirmed that I was going on a 3-week international trip with substantial allowance so I could enjoy myself. I heard stories of travellers skimping for money and I thought, what's the point when you can't have experiences because you lack for money.
I did my affirmation and visualization not really regularly but only each time I remembered. Then, I just forgot about it. I kept doing my work and one day an international visitor came to visit our school. Knowing that she was on her own in a strange city, I offered to bring her around and show the sights. It never occurred to me that this would be the beginning of my foray into the world.
I read some books before I took a workshop and Shakti Gawain's book helped me in my attempt. I read it religiously then until I got the hang of it. I never thought it was the one thing that started me on international travel.
My First Overseas Trip
This lady, a week later, brought the rest of her team and I found they were all specialists from Canada looking for projects to be financed in our country. I was in the Philippines then and the country had finally convinced Marcos to leave and hide in Hawaii. So many governments who would not help him needed to very quickly find ways to support Cory Aquino and the new more democratic regime.
The Canadian Team decided that I was a good resource and I could tell the story to their institutions better than they could so they invited me to their annual Conference of Colleges in Canada and I had been on the road ever since. My only desire then which they happily obliged to was to see snow and since that was almost summer, it was only possible to do this by going to the mountains. There, I touched my first snow. A magical experience.
Soon, I moved to Canada and worked in one of its largest colleges taking responsibility for international activities and developing projects with Colleges or Governments. My husband was in the same line of work so finally when we could leave our jobs, we formed our own company and just moved on doing exactly the same thing full time.
Bridge Yourself to International Travel
How? Through work. It will be more meaningful as you will have more extensive interaction with people in the country. Working together bring on deeper understanding and relationships.
Did the visualization do this? Who knows. But our work has brought us to countries in the Middle East including Gaza and Ramallah, Oman, Jordan and Israel. To eastern Europe in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. To South Asia including India, Maldives, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Travelled and Worked in the Middle East
It was an experience. I was lucky to have a month in a country of Abadi Muslims, Oman. They are very gentle. Oman has also retained some of the things we read about Arabia in the past. Frankincense was first encountered by me there, the tree itself.
We worked in Gaza, Ramalla, Jordan and Israel. In fact, we worked there several times. Being a Christian, that place is special as all the places I have read in the Bible, I saw. It also made me understand this area that often takes the News limelight, the key players and the factors they have to deal with.
Travelled and Worked in South Asia
Another interesting travel experience. Nepal was a very big surprise for me. We also went to India several times but I have not written about it. In fact, it was the first South Asian country I visited.
Travel to East Asia
HongKong used to be the hub, the stop over each time one takes a trip to Asia. This is no longer true as now one can choose from several others. But this is my first experience of East Asia. Then, I worked in China, in Chengdu where I trained local women leaders just at the time when they first opened up to the world. I particularly enjoyed working with the local tribal minority leaders.
One time, we were invited to visit Taiwan and were really impressed with the institutions they have at that time. We learned much there. Recently, we visited Korea and Japan and were immensely impressed with the development going on there.
Travel to South Africa
In the past, Africa was the stomping ground of many development people. I used to listen to stories about the Masais. Also, stories of missionaries reveling us of how old grandmas died offering whatever handful of food they had for their grandchildren. Then, I saw the movie, The Gods Must be Crazy and my fascination for Africa heightened.
Then, we had a chance. When Mandela got into power, countries just wanted to help and do something to make this country move on. At that time, though, we had to work.
Last Christmas, we decided to go and just to have a good break and we did. We drove to so many places and enjoyed looking at what they have achieved in the years after apartheid. We went back and stayed in the hotels we stayed in before and even went on safari. The mix of work and tourism has indeed given us a different perspective on many countries.
Travel to Visit Families
Our families caught the "fading margin" disease, too and soon visits to Bermuda, the UK, and Switzerland were required. We just spent spring 2012 in Switzerland to be with the grand daughter. And then friends we had made caught up in the same wandering life style to be visited in Denmark, Holland, Greece, Luxembourg, Sweden, Italy, Germany and France.
Having a base in Switzerland made travel all over Europe easy. We can drive to some places in France and be home in the evening.
Have you ever travelled in a group? For a month? From Brownie camps to hockey team travels, to church groups or families, many of us have group travel experiences.
A New Experience in Hanoi
Our travel has recently brought us to Hanoi. We will be here for 18 months in the next 3 years. Another place to explore. I had been here more than 15 years ago so it is interesting to see the change.
Vietnam is really an interesting country and the more you dig deep into Vietnam, the more you discover.
Often, we get stuck in the famous Vietnam war that took much of the attention of our generation. But there is so much more to discover of this country and its people.
Travel is personal and we have our own reasons for doing so. Our learning are also our own.
In our travel, we have learned to support initiative in green travel
We have learned to support steps taken by countries, hotels and other groups to encourage sustainable tourism, to green our travel so we leave the world a better place to be in for the next generation.