Growing up, I had the opportunity to travel the world, see things others could only dream of seeing, and experience things I had never imagined possible. None of my adventures, however, were quite as mystical and astonishing as my trip to India. This trip exposed me to alternate cultures and enabled me to embrace the importance of cultural exploration in today’s society.
As a child and through my early teens I travelled the world, from the tiny islands of the Maldives to the vast mountains of Europe, I was introduced from a young age to the alternate cultures and religions of the world and taught the values of accepting others based upon common morals and not race or religion.
My second visit to India proved most memorable, perhaps due to my age and ability to understand the vast horizons that such a trip opened for me. I was, for the first time, able to mix with the locals who, although very limited in their English, were incredibly hospitable and willing to explain just how different life as a child in India was in comparison to the relatively undemanding childhood I experienced. I learned of the day-to-day troubles of the inhabitants with regards to food and education. As a child growing up in England at the time, where immigrant Indians and Pakistanis bore the brunt of many racial stereotypes and ridicules, I was finally able to fully recognize their reasons for immigration and their past experiences.
While on my trip, I also visited the jungles on a “monkey walk”, involving a trek through the jungle with the opportunity to get up close and personal with the native wildlife (namely the monkeys). Never before had I experienced such a brush with nature and, until then, it had never occurred to me just how impressive nature could be. Upon my return from India I began to get involved in groups at school, trying to do my part for the environment and the preservation of wildlife.
I genuinely believe that the exploration of alternate cultures by today’s youth will prove to be an important factor in the decisions made by the leaders of tomorrow. The opportunities givens through travelling are often overlook and underestimated and I plan to advocate the importance of not only travel but of cultural learning throughout my life.
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