When I was 15, my Sainted Parents took me to live in London. I remember how nervous I was to leave my home and go somewhere foreign to me. It was perhaps the first step in my education from international travel.
The joys of London, Wales, and France were endless; yet the greatest things I experienced in my teenage European experience were new challenges, different people, and history in life.
New challenges: Our grocery stores, streets, and community services were completely different in Europe. Learning to navigate those differences educated me. By the time we moved back to Seattle, I could navigate the buses and trains with ease. Stretched out of my comfort zone, I was forced to do new things.
It must also be said, that the experience itself was a permission slip, to try, fail and succeed in those new things. Being stagnate in life often comes from performing the same routine tasks or activities. Travel, whether it be to a different state, or a different nation; breeds out-of-the-bubble thinking.
Different people: Like many cities around the world, London had a diverse population of people. Growing up in a predominantly white suburb of Seattle; I'd never lived near/around so many ethnic backgrounds as I had, living in London. Seeing how individuals ate, interacted, and communicated, was a whole new world to me. The differences I found in others provided understanding about me and the world. It opened my eyes.
By virtue of living in the United States, we tend to be in our own little world. Our media and entertainment usually don't cover the day to day activities of our neighboring nations; let alone countries around the world. This is unfortunate. Only when we see and hear the goings on of others; will we appreciate what we have and be challenged to embrace other cultures.
History in life: No matter where you travel internationally, you're bound to live out history in the making. Iconic people, architecture, and historical objects, bring life to the history of the world. Although travel in and through one's home country, can bring great joy and learning; international travel seems to represent a longer history.
This summer I got the opportunity to travel in Bordeaux, France. Being a wine lover, I was in pure heaven. Among the many things to see, I was really taken back by the merging of the old architecture with the new transit systems. A state of the art tram weaving throughout some of the oldest buildings I've ever seen. It was fascinating.
Additionally, we visited Château Luchey-Halde, where we learned the properties of Bordeaux wine and the work that goes into making it. Although the vines themselves were younger, the vineyard itself was unbelievably old. We were literally walking on history. That made the experience much richer.
The experience of world travel is a special one. To afford such an experience, is challenging these days. I saved nine months just to be able to travel twelve days this summer. In my mind, it was very worth it.
May I suggest you do the same?!