I think that being able to travel to all these different places is a very great thing. Going to different countries can be such an eye opener, because all these different countries have different cultures, religions and different ways of life! I think that it is so interesting to see them. It's very different seeing people in exotic places in pictures or movies, you have to really be there to feel how different it is. Like when we're shown videos from World Vision and other organizations they show us the people they help, what they're doing and where they are, but once you actually see people like the people who are being helped by World Vision in person it's so different and has so much more meaning.
Many people haven't had the experience of traveling, but fortunately many people at our school have been able to. If you can travel I think it's a bit of a waste if you just stay in your sheltered resort instead of actually going around and seeing how people really live there! I know so many people who have travelled to these exotic, interesting places, but have just stayed in their resort, sun bathing by the pool. I think that it is a waste of being in an amazing place and just lying by a pool, which you could do at home. Every time I travel I try to take advantage of what is offered to me and I think that people should do the same. Every place has different things that it can teach you. From traveling I have learned so much, I would be a very different person if I hadn't gotten the opportunity to go to the places I have.
When I travel I love to actually go into a real city where people from wherever I am actually live. While I was in Africa we didn't even stay in a resort. We travelled around with a group and went to different hotels. We were always safe and still guarded, but we weren't completely closed in. I got to meet people who really lived in the bad areas of Africa. We went to what's called a "Shanty Town", which is a small place where very poor people make homes from discarded cardboard, sheets of metal, corrugated iron, etc. The people who lived there were in such an awful place, yet they seemed happy. Those people were happy with everything they had, they never wasted anything. Everyone there treated each other like family and always helped each other. It made me think that if they have such a bad life and treat each other so well, why can't we? We live such an amazing life yet we always complain and I never heard any of those people complain about anything once.
This weekend my cousin came to visit me, she had just come back from backpacking through Asia. Before she was in Asia she was in University in Australia for environmental studies and tourism. She told me about all these experiences she has had with traveling. My family has travelled a lot, mainly backpacking. Almost all of my cousins have gone backpacking, whether it be in Asia, Africa or South America. When I'm done high school I also plan on backpacking. From everything I have heard about it it seems like such an amazing experience. You can learn so many things. My cousin who just got back from backpacking in Asia said she probably learned more things from traveling than she did in University. My family while traveling always met local people, while backpacking they relied on local people. They were always amazed at the different cultures and how different every place really was! For instance, in Asia they drink tea like water. Everywhere my cousin went they always had free hot water and had so many different teas for sale. Now that she's home she still drinks tea about 7 times a day.
So, I think that traveling is a great experience, but can be wasted if you don't take the opportunity to actually see the cultural side of it, not just soaking up the sun. I strongly encourage everyone that next time they travel to get out of the resort and actually go into a real part of the country. I also think that after high school traveling is a great thing to do if you have the chance. My cousin said it changed her life so much and that if she hadn't traveled she would have probably would have studied business in Canada, instead she studied the environment in Australia. You can learn some really great things while traveling, that I can't explain, no video or picture or person can ever really show you what it's like. You have to see it and feel it for yourself. Traveling is really something that I hold close to my heart because it has helped me learn so many important things and has really changed who I am today.
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