I was procrastinating on the internet the other day when I came across this post here: http://zenpencils.com/comic/73-mark-twain-an-educational-journey/ . Zen Pencils is a blog where an artist illustrates famous motivational and inspirational quotes, you should check it out. This one in particular really hit me.
As someone who is constantly moving around and pushing myself to go to new places, I sometimes have little personal crises: Why am I travelling? What is my objective? Would I be better off if I had just stayed home and got a normal graduate job? What am I trying to prove?
But it is traveling and pushing myself to do new things that has made me who I am today, one little bit at a time. I am so far from the shy 15 year old who was too scared to say a word to her host family on a French exchange, in French. Since then I have moved first hundreds, then thousands of miles from home to Edinburgh, France, Spain and now Quebec and learned two languages. Each trip has added to and altered me, made me more confident, more independent, more able to not feel embarrassed by my mistakes. The people I have met along the way have been wonderful, inspiring. I can’t get enough of traveling, learning and growing. I don’t regret a thing.
Travel broadens our horizons and makes us constantly question ourselves and our surroundings. Travel teaches us that the people we read about in newspapers are people just like us; they have just as much of a right to this Earth as we do. By traveling we learn about other ways of life, other attitudes, other ways of looking at the world. I think about all the horrible things we do to each other and how we could have avoided so many wars if we had just listened and learned from each other. This becomes no less important in an increasingly globalised world, our actions don’t just affect us, even just buying a t-shirt affects hundreds of people world over. Only by traveling can we break down barriers and come to understand each other, and realise that our similarities outweigh our differences. If I ever start up a charity, it would be one that gave poor kids the opportunity to travel and experience the world for themselves.
So why do I travel? I travel to challenge myself, to learn, to see our beautiful planet, to meet people, to experience other cultures. Thank you, Mark Twain, for reminding me of this in a moment of doubt, and thank you, Zen Pencil, for bringing it to life in your wonderful illustration.