Travel offers many benefits to those who can indulge in it. Here are just a few: (1) Exposure to other cultures; (2) Exposure to new ways of doing things; and, (3) Opportunity to refresh and to dream again from a different perspective.
International travel continues to be a major way in which people choose to experience different cultures. The global economic contribution (direct, indirect and induced) of this industry was more than 7.6 trillion U.S. dollars in 2016 (https://www.statista.com/topics/962/global-tourism/).
It is estimated that international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) worldwide increased 7 percent in 2017, according to a new report released by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). This is well above the sustained and consistent trend of 4 percent or higher growth since 2010 and represents the strongest results in seven years (https://www.travelagentcentral.com/running-your-business/stats-2017-tourism-growth-was-strongest-7-years).
Every corner of the globe experienced robust growth. Regional results indicate that “Europe and Asia and the Pacific led growth in January- June 2018, with arrivals increasing 7% in both regions. The Middle East and Africa also recorded sound results with 5% and 4% growth respectively, while the Americas saw a 3% increase this six-month period. … France, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, India, the Republic of Korea and the United States led outbound spending from their respective regions (https://www.e-unwto.org/doi/abs/10.18111/wtobarometereng.2018.16.4.1).
Imagine travelling to the Big Apple and gazing up at the sky scrapers as you emerge from the subway. Or, visiting London and arriving in the bustling activity of Piccadilly Circus? What about the Great Wall of China, the Drakensburg Mountains, or rafting on the Rio Grande? The world is filled with awe-inspiring places designed to leave you not only breathless, but inspired.
Last year, I experienced one of the best trips of my life as I visited Washington, D.C. and toured major universities like Howard, Georgetown, and Morgan State. My experiences have been captured in Be Prepared (Mitchell, 2017), released just after my return to Jamaica. Not only did I meet people, but some of them have made such an indelible impression on my life that I am forever changed. If you have the opportunity to travel for study, for team competitions, or other group travel, don’t miss the opportunities along the way.
Business travel is another great way to experience different cultures. This can range from work group sessions and committees to trade shows and special conferences. On these trips, while in transit or at the event, people from many parts of the world meet and discover that they have more in common than the business which brought them together. Some of these people become lifelong friends who shepherd you through the unimaginable doors of opportunity.
Vacation travel can be a wonderfully rejuvenating experience. Whether you stay in a large hotel or a small bed and breakfast, your fresh experiences will invigorate you. Leisure travel gives you the opportunity to simply experience others on their home soil. It allows you to fully immerse yourself in their lives – their foods, their music, their work, and their pleasure activities. Many people have experienced new foods and music that they just have to take home with them and share with others. Different vacations have caught me in different places – a park of water falls, NASA, wildlife reserves and horse trails, live concerts, botanical gardens, Amish communities, neighbourhood teas, picnics, barbecues, and ice cream shops.
No matter where I have gone, each trip for leisure has always been lodged in my memory as one of the best experiences that I have ever had!
If you are a professional with medical, social, ecological, engineering, culinary, or other skills, how about combining your travel with a mission trip? So many disaster zones exist today that offer a wonderful opportunity for professionals to get away from home, while giving service to humanity. From Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, to Indonesia and Japan – the world is waiting for you to lend a hand.
As I leave you, remember that extending your reach through travel is not a vain enterprise. When you meet people from all walks of life who help you to navigate challenging situations in a more mature manner than if you had remained comfortably in your home town, you benefit!
So, don’t hesitate – travel! Everyone that you know can be affected by your experiences in travel. You never know if the bits of foreign culture that you deposit will become woven into the fabric of these communities that welcome you.
While you are planning your first or next trip, check out Be Prepared at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpERacYRG6A .