How can travelling change a person? I would like to share some thoughts and experiences I had from various trips. I must say I am not a big time traveller. However since Year 2000, I try to make a long trip of more than 10 days and a few short trips of 4 to 5 days yearly when times permit.
I have since changed from a tourist to a traveller. I am amazed how travelling had changes my values in life. Before I knew it, my priorities are different, I see things from different perspectives, my horizon broadens, my character growing, the list goes on. If anyone wonder what is the different between a tourist and a traveller? In my own context, traveller will eat a run off the mill Chinese hamburger or Western Dim sum and acquiesce it. The tourist will probably keep hoping they have the taste of Western hamburger and Chinese Dim sum. As quoted by G.K. Chesterton”The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has comes to see.” The diverse cultures, the locals way of life, their languages, their authentic cuisine are what I savours when I travel now. Gone are the days where I hunt for factory outlets, chocolates and gifts except for memento sake.
In this modern world, luxury obsession fed by new consumerist and business culture, peer pressures and societal barometers are making many people losing their identities. I am fortunate to be born in the most developed country in our region; every short trip to nearby countries serves as a good admonition for discontent. Many of us measure self worth by the emblem or symbol that stick on our apparel or equipments, I must admit I do feel good when I got my Daytona on my wrist. Since young we are all driven to achieve in our society, the materialistic dogmas embedded are hard to convert. Travel reminds me of where I come from, who I am and who I am not. Travel made me sees the inner values I never recognise and reset my priorities in life. Travel requires courage and gets you out of your comfort zones, especially a self plan trip to third world countries. Imagine going to Saint Helena or Tristan da Cunha, one of the world most remote countries, it sure raise your concern for many affairs.
Every trip inculcate new values in me, the modern Paris and highly sophisticated Tokyo Akihabara electric town open my eyes and show me the infinite and creative brain power of our human mind, allure my temptation for the finest things in life. However, the precarious slums of Johannesburg, the Berbers of Marrakech and the nomads of Gobi-Altai gave me great respite from the relentless pursuit of a better living. Everyone heard of endangered animal, how about endangered human tribe? The Dukha tribe from Northern Mongolia are one that faces threats to existence. I am humbled by all the things I have seen while travelling and it had certainly invoked a greater inner search within me.