Travel is Educational
Perhaps it is because I have always enjoyed it so much, but I believe that traveling is one of the greatest ways to become a well-educated person that there can possibly be. As a young child I can remember staying with my grandmother when my parents went on short weekend trips. When they returned they always spent a great deal of time telling me all about it. In return, I would tell them about my “trip”…what I did with my grandparents, where we went, books we read, cakes I helped them cook, toys they bought for me, and about the trails we hiked or walked down. We learned from each other.
As a child and teen the family trips included my sister and me. For 15 years we went to Panama City Beach for a two week summer vacation. Each trip was educational in that it always included learning a new sport, going to a different aquarium, enjoying a new restaurant, cooking “beach dinners”, getting along with other families who sometimes went with us, and learning to behave during the infamous rides in the hot un-air-conditioned car for 10 hours as we traveled to and from our destination. We also learned that our parents were “fun”, which we sometimes didn’t get to see when we were at home. We learned how to bait a hook and remove a fish when we found a little pier. We caught so many fish that day they put our picture in the newspaper. We learned that food is not just meat and potatoes, and in this way the trips helped us develop a taste for the unusual. We also learned to enjoy “scary” rides at the amusement park and became experts at Putt-putt.
As older teens we learned to leave home for scout camps and church camps or to go for weeks at a time to stay with cousins in distant parts of the U.S. Because we had always traveled we never had the homesickness that some children experience, and we thoroughly enjoyed being in a different place which was usually totally different from what we lived in our small Alabama town. I always felt bad for the children in my world who cried at every sleepover. How sad.
As we left for college we were prepared to live there just as we were trained to do at home. It wasn’t the first time we had been away from our parents. We knew that the rules of life didn’t stay in our home, but they followed us wherever we decided to go. Rules included things such as never miss a class, always complete assignments on time, ask for help when needed, eat healthy meals, get 8 hours of sleep each night, keep your room clean, make friends who had values similar to yours, contribute something worthwhile, refrain from smoking or drinking whether all your friends are doing it or not, and attend church every Sunday. We each managed to have a great deal of fun while still living in a way that our parents would not be shamed. Our good family name was very important.
As an adult I still enjoy traveling and have continued to enjoy beaches, history sites which are my favorites, and travel abroad is such a wonderful educational experience. As an adult I have not stayed in one small town but I have moved to five states and lived in each of them long enough to absorb the character of the town and learn the historic areas of the region. Moving is also an educational experience. Most people feel that travel is just fun, but I feel that I owe my education to the many times I have traveled away from home.