The Communicator

The Communicator

The Communicator

The Transformative Power of Travel

The desire to travel is lost nowadays as inflation rises and our technology depicts it more realistically than ever.

Now more than ever, we live in a world surrounded by technology. Our phones, laptops and devices show the very essence of a place from the comfort of our homes. The desire for travel is less appealing, as our virtual reality portrays it better and better. Behind the images you see on your phone, the act of traveling itself is a profound and surreal experience that no photo could ever capture.

My family moved to the United Arab Emirates in 2013 when I was five years old. At such a young age, I was highly impressionable. Having been exposed only to my parents’ beliefs and the community in which I lived, my worldview was limited. During our time in the United Arab Emirates, we journeyed to 15 countries, including Thailand, Sri Lanka, Croatia and France. Each holiday was spent in a new destination.

One Christmas in Vietnam remains etched in my memory to this day. We stayed in a rustic hotel, and on Christmas Eve a man dressed as Santa Claus emerged, presenting us with enormous chocolate bars. My brother and I were ecstatic. We sang carols and built gingerbread houses. We ate traditional Vietnamese food buffet style on this elegant table. The plates and silverware were carved with small intricate designs and the napkins were folded like swans. At that moment, I found joy in the simple pleasures: chocolate, good food and a different kind of Christmas.

Reflecting on that moment now, I see the courage my parents had in taking two young children across the world. I recall the kindness of the Vietnamese people who warmly welcomed us and generously shared their culture. I see the kids I met during this magical night, and even if I don’t remember each one, it created a happy and cherish-able memory that I still look back on and smile at. It was just one small moment, yet here I am, writing about it 10 years later. While I have many memories like this one, none compare to the experience of actually being there.

Having lived in a foreign country for two years, I can confidently say that my perspective on the world has evolved significantly. It has enabled me to challenge stereotypes after immersing myself in a culture different from my upbringing. It introduced me to the hardships and pain of the cushioned world we see and that has encouraged me to foster empathy for other people’s struggles. It’s difficult to travel somewhere and see starving people and diminished cities, but that shapes someone to appreciate all they have.

As a world traveler herself, Cindy Wauer tries to travel as much as possible to expand her understanding of the unknown. “It helps you get out of the known you think you know. It broadens your perspective of life and opens your opinions up,” Wauer said.

Traveling has been a privilege that I never want to take for granted. I hope that through travel, kindness and love continue to spread through the world, for the more we practice these virtues, the better we can understand one another and collaborate towards a brighter future.

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