February 13th, 2018
Here's why you should throw out the history book, switch off the news and travel instead.
I get asked a lot what I’ve learned from travelling around the globe. And although, there are still hundreds of places still remaining on my bucket list, waiting for me to explore, I have learned more from my own travel experiences, than any news story or text book has ever taught me.
I’m a history buff, who is studying journalism, so believe – I know.
I was very lucky growing up, because my mum took my brother and I travelling as often as she could; Hong Kong, New Zealand, Thailand and Bali; so even at a young age, I had already learned so much from my travel experiences, from their way of life to their accurate account of historical events. Which was of course, completely different to what I had previously learned at school. So, from a young age, I already appreciated and acquired an understanding, that visiting any country and learning about their culture directly, is far better that what any news story or text book can teach you.
But in truth, this enlightening view of life and travel probably didn’t play a huge part in my life, until I travelled to Egypt with my dad in 2012.
My dad is obsessed with ancient history, particularly Egyptian history; which is probably where I inherited the obsession also. For years, we had tossed around the idea of travelling to Egypt together, and for years these travel plans always got back benched due to the varying security concerns for tourists in Egypt; or affordability at the time. It just didn’t seem like we were ever going to get there. So, in 2012, I made an executive decision with dad that we should go, telling him it was now, or never.
Of course, there were warnings left right and centre from family and friends stating it wasn’t safe to go; tourists are being attacked there; there are protests ongoing on the streets, and of course my favourite; human trafficking is happening in Egypt, you definitely should not go. Those close to us, and who knew us well enough, knew we would be travelling safely, and with ever precaution necessary to travel through a country like Egypt. We played it smart and let a travel agent do everything for us. They crossed our T’s and dotted our I’s to ensure we would be safe and have a most memorable experience.
Prior to my trip to Egypt, apart from the few Asian countries I had visited, and some parts of the USA and a LOT of Canada, I had never really travelled outside of my comfort zone, to a country which is the total opposite of any western country. And I say that, because most Asian countries are fairly western. This was both exciting and nerve racking at the same time.
Travelling for nineteen days across Egypt, taught me a lot of about the ways of life, and the ways in which the media like to corrupt the news we are being told in the western world. It also educated me on the real facts of the increasing problems in Egypt, and the not so bad ones either, where the locals consider a lot the present issues just a fact of life. I never once felt threatened, and in-fact was welcomed by everyone I passed. The colour of my skin, nor the way I dressed was compromised by the locals in anyway. And my heart goes out to the amazing Egyptians who made out trip the most wonderful experience ever.
But if I had to break it down to the top five things I’ve learned from travelling, here’s what I would say I’ve learned; inspired by my experiences in Egypt of course:
1. I now know that a lot of History taught from text books has been taught wrong:
If you have a passion for a specific historical event in life; or you’re like me and are fascinated by ancient history and antiquities, there is no better way to learn about the history, then to visit the country itself and speak with the locals. Throughout my nineteen days in Egypt, I learned more about the temples, the pharaohs and the dynasties than any book has ever taught me. And a lot of what I had learned in the books, was completely wrong and the opposite of what actually happened.
2. I no longer listen to the news talk about I country I plan to visit:
Of course, this doesn’t mean to say it is safe to travel to Syria and the news is lying. Of course, many countries are in-fact unfit for travel, due to many increasing war issues at present. But for many countries out there, there has been a lot of misinformation spread about, and tourists stay away from so many beautiful destinations, in fear that something might happen to them. If you are thinking about a country for travel, and you are worried. Speak to a travel agent, they will tell you whether it’s safe to go there or not.
3. What I learned about life from the locals:
There is no greater way to learn about life, then by taking the time to listen and speak with the locals. In Egypt, everywhere you go, they sit you down with a cold glass of mint tea (which is to die for) and chat to you about their country, their life, their food and more. And there is no better way to understand and appreciate someone’s country more, than by sitting down and taking the time to talk with the locals. Some of them have the most fascinating stories. And you certainly appreciate your life more when you hear of their misfortunes. None of which they ever seek pity for.
4. I grew up fast, becoming a street smart and savvy traveller:
Being a proud parent, my dad always tells me how street smart I am, and that I am a savvy traveller, but he never truly appreciated these talents more, than when we travelled to Egypt. Or so he says LOL. Whether I gained these skills from previous travels, or whether they developed through my experience travelling in Egypt, I don’t know, but I do know I matured quick travelling in Egypt. And although I felt safe throughout my time in Egypt; as I mentioned before, fear is a terrible feeling to fight, and there were still moments where I questioned why I was in Egypt and whether we would make it back home alive.
5. I learned there are two different types of Muslims in this world:
Okay, so this one is the most important life lesson I did ever learn, whilst travelling across Egypt. I had never really paid much attention to the different types of personalities associated with the many types of religions out there. Whether they be Catholic, Jewish or Muslim. Being non-religious, I suppose I was a little judgemental in thinking they were all the same and put them all the same bubble. In Australia, we are exposed on a regular basis to the wrong type of information associated with Muslims. So, travelling to Egypt was truly an enlightening experience, there is in-fact a very different type of Muslim out there. One who is not threatened by westerners and accept us for who we are, and are warm, kind and very loving towards all. And unfortunately, as with any culture, religion or race – a few bad eggs are ruining it for everyone.
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