Just over two years ago, I was living with an Algerian-Italian-French landlady in the beautiful city of Montpellier. In 10 months of my life, I learnt through the eyes of an immigrant who came into the country – with the same dreams her kind all shared. I witnessed first hand how daily she harnessed and enjoyed the beauty of her daily hard work and labour. While I could have learnt the same in my humble city of Ibadan with my old man or any other surrounding characters, living with Sylvie had a notch to it, in the sense that it provided a medium to see another side of the view and further re-evaluate whatever lessons on hard work I might have picked up earlier in my life.
Travel takes us places, widens our horizon, enables us to appreciate our present, prepare for the future and evaluate our history. With travel, it’s one more day of marvel; it is one more moment of something you have not seen before or probably a doze of the same events ditched out by varying characters and different surrounding circumstances. Just when you thought you had seen it all, you are left for one more itching quest for a new adventure.
In my sojourn within and outside the country, I have picked up valuable lessons, built networks which all together make a greater part of my present and ultimately big contributors to what the future holds.
I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that a valid travel experience has to be across the Atlantic. I beg to differ. In my daily exchanges, I have discovered that the average Nigerian is not well travelled within the country to begin with. They only move across the country as a result of their work requirements and social functions. In my personal view, I think we need to do more.
We need to travel within the country, understand our heritage, and meet varying people doing extraordinary things in their own way. If you ask me, it’s a big step to ending the cultural and tribal divide that has plagued us over the years. More often than not, the opinion we have of the next tribe is what has been passed down to us over the years, or what the media has permeated down over time. While I am not denying that my limited travel across the country adds me to the guilty group, I still, however, think that every one of us should make a conscious effort to take time out with our friends and family to travel within and outside Nigeria. A quality travel experience doesn’t have to be across the Atlantic, expensive or time consuming. A weekend in the next town is a good starting point. Gradually, scope and breadth can always be improved.
Without any doubt, taking time out of our comfort zone and usual surrounding provides a medium for self-discovery, self-evaluation and unravelling a world of new possibilities. What we feel couldn’t be done is already been done somewhere else. Globalisation has been made possible by the power of internet, but inasmuch as a lot can be done or learnt via the internet, travel transcends internet transactions as it provides real physical connection and experiences.
While happiness is indeed relative, during my sojourn here in life, there are only a few more things that have offered me more joy than the wonderful memories, friends and insights I have gained from my travel experiences within and outside the country. In the coming years, I plan and pledge to do more of such, God-willing. I also think you should to the same!
Photo Credit: Dreamstime |Hongqi Zhang (aka Michael Zhang)