pLast night I had to give a presentation on ‘Why Travel?’ It is pretty much the ideal topic for me to talk about, something I was very happy about, as it was the first time I’ve stood and lectured a group of people for an hour without having lots of classroom activities breaking up the time.
Here’s my presentation that you can click through, it’s pretty much just a collection of pictures around the main themes on which I was talking. Something my housemate found highly amusing, saying it wasn’t supposed to be a holiday slideshow showing everywhere I’ve been! But I thought it gave a bit more credentials to my opinions plus led to loads of questions of people asking about my experiences and recommendations as well as being able to tangent off into a random travel story here and there.
These are my key points on why I think people should travel:
You see loads of cool places
Like tons. Everywhere. The world’s made to explore, with so many cultures, religions, ancient buildings, modern buildings, mountains, canyons, the lot. I have countless more trips already mapped out in my head, just waiting for the right time and financial situation to allow me to go explore further. We were comparing people’s preferences, seeing if they prefered urban or rural areas, cultural activities or high-energy activities, manmade or natural sites. To demonstrate how we all have different preferences, but that whilst travelling you can choose what you want to do and get a nice mix into what you’re doing.
You boost your confidence, independence and views on the world
Ever got off a plane in foreign country completely lost, without a place to stay booked and countless people trying to grab you to take you to ‘the place in town sir, honest’. With signs everywhere not even using letters we are accustomed to, but strange symbols. Then found yourself two days later happily wandering around the town like you were a local. Travel can boost your self-belief in what you can accomplish and also show how well we can survive and adapt when not being able to speak the language.
Not only that but through seeing more of the world and its different cultures, we can better form our opinions not only globally, but in how we view our lives back home. Through travelling you see both the best and worst of humanity. From acts of kindness from strangers that really help you out, such as the amazingly friendly train guard in Budapest who was the sole reason we caught our international train journey. To seeing the atrocities humans have enacted upon each other, Srebrenica to name just one. These experiences mature you as a person and can impact how you relate to other situations.
You get to try tons of tasty food
This is pretty self-explanatory. I love food. Most rational people love food, it’s the best, and getting to try the many dishes of what the world has to offer is a big part of my travelling. I’ll happily splash out a few days budget on eating at a place highly recommended, whereas I’ll always skimp on accommodation. In saying that, I nearly always risk an incident of food poisoning to sample what the street sellers are pushing. Getting some absolutely delicious dishes for less than you could buy an apple for in the UK.
You meet many a great person, both traveller and local, building up a web of lifelong friends globally
I like other travellers. They’re easy-going, open-minded and often willing for a random adventure.
“You were planning on booking that organised trip? I’ve found a way to do it using local transport, if you’re keen. It just involves getting up at 5am, a train, three different buses and a high likelihood someone will try and scam us, but we save a fiver and it’s way more of an adventure”.
“Sure, see you bright and early”.
Thanks to facebook and whatsapp, these people don’t have to be random encounters that you never see again. They can become people that you keep up to date your each of your respective explorations, maybe meeting up a couple of years later to have more fun, or just providing places to crash and have some beers if you find yourselves in the same place.
Locals can also really make a place. Getting their viewpoint on their home town, and being taken to the actual best eateries in town. Again, meet the right locals and you get great chat, guides and… food!
That’s a summary of what I presented on for an hour (presentation here). We also looked at why travel, (long-term), might not be for all before a discussion and question section. It was a fun evening!