“Who here has ever left the country?”
..a mere fraction of the class raised their small arms in response, confusion and pride synchronised on their small faces in conjunction to the majority who wore shame in a way that they themselves did not and could not understand.
I was 14 when the above took place. I was the minority when the above took place. I was prideful, innocent, judgemental, naive… when the above took place.
Growing up, I’ve taken for granted the opportunities presented to me, the returns to my home country during the winter season, exchanging Britain’s chilling winters for Tanzanian sandy beaches, easy weather and an inviting dialect. Or even the escapades to Spain’s busy cities and tourist attractions. It wasn’t until I was spread out on the sandy beach of Palermo, Sicily, surrounded by both natives and tourists, exchanging laughter and conversation in an unfamiliar language how lucky I was to be here, struggling to make sense of the fast-paced conversations, how fortunate I am to have had the opportunity to live out that particular experience.
It saddens me to know that there are some out there, who have not only been unable to leave their home country, but worse so that they are not in possession of a passport. We speak of the right to move freely as a human right, but it is the majority, rather than the minority who are unable to put into action this right to its fullest extent.
Driving towards Palermo International, sat in the back seat of a cab, it hit me as I peered out of the window… how strange it is to think that there are people who live in the sunny city all year around – make friends, study, create memories, fall in love… grow old. All of this ‘living’, moving, seeing happens with the shores of Modello’s coast and Palermo’s mountain line in sight.
Travelling, I believe, opens up our eyes to the unfamiliarity of familiar exchanges of those who share different cultural practices to our own. It teaches self-growth, shakes up an understanding within ourselves, of how small our own world’s are, how our own insignificant cultural norms appear almost a spectacle to those unfamiliar with them. I think it builds an appreciation in ourselves for own lives, but also creates a longing for further experience, to explore the world further in ways we do not even know of yet, to create memories in small towns and big cities.
I think travel teaches us to dream bigger, better, teaches us to expect more of ourselves and of the world.