“Went elephant riding today. It was amazing. Yesterday I also took a Dancemandala yoga class…it was so cool. I love this country so much. Such beautiful people, and a beautiful culture!!!”
The other morning I woke up to a fabulous text message from a former student.
A former student officer of mine (now in her final years of university) is spending four weeks this summer in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It’s her first foray into long term travel and although leaving filled with trepidation, nerves and that ‘I don’t know what to expect’ feeling; the messages I’ve been receiving show excitement, passion, growth and pure joy. If I even had the slightest bit to do with that…I’m honoured! She’s officially been bitten by the travel bug!
When I was teaching, I tried to bring as much of my travels into my classroom as possible. Whether it was a small didgeridoo from Australia, a cartouche written in hieroglyphics from Egypt or various currencies from around the world – somehow, they made their way into lessons on cultural diffusion, diversity and global interdependence. I wanted so very much for my students to experience the joy of travel and know that all things are possible. I showed them photos of my journeys to places that were no longer ‘just’ in their textbooks or on a map, and retold stories of my own adventures. That’s part of the joys of teaching – you never know who’s really listening and how someone is truly affected by your words.
Reconnecting with former students out in the world on their own adventures warms my heart. The world is different for travelers today – the world of the Internet and sharing communities change the way we travel. Perhaps she’ll share her ‘Selfies’ on Instagram with heaps of followers. Perhaps she’ll tweet her adventures for the world at large and connect with other travelers doing the same. Sarah’s escapades and those of other young travelers today may be different than mine, but the fact remains the same…she’s out there on that adventure. Trying to figure out ‘where to go next’ in geography and life goals, she’ll learn and grow from each individual experience.
Perhaps it’s not exactly me passing the travel torch, but a feeling from one generation of travelers to the next. It’s nice to see how she and so many like her are embracing a world bigger than themselves, finding all sorts of adventures along the way, meeting new and different people than exist in their every day and challenging their known with the unknown. From my experience, hearing how much she’s enjoying this trip, I know she’s about to find: a need to see more of the world, that no matter how far you travel there’s always more to see, that she’ll leave her heart in many places and that more than a sale on Amazon attracts people – she’ll be excited when airlines drop their prices and feverishly surf the net to book that next adventure.
Here’s to a continued love of travel from one generation to the next!