A teacher named Travel.
‘It is dangerous to travel on your own’. ‘You are stupid to travel solo as a female’.
It is not uncommon to hear these phrases. Coming from a south-Asian culture, I often saw how women are told by others, how best to live their life, which makes me all the prouder to watch women around me question the norm, advocate change and take back control.
Over the years, I have dedicated myself to evolving from a tourist to a traveler. I can say so because since 2013, I have personified the word – Wanderlust, traveling to over 25 countries and 80 cities, with dreams of visiting many more. Travel changed my life in more than one way. To simply put, Travel has been life changing. Here’s why.
I realized; how tiny my problems are.
Hailing from Dubai, I have rather seen a very comfortable and luxurious life. However, when I began traveling, I noticed the real world, which led to a huge shift in how I viewed my own circumstances. For instance, My visit to the Auschwitz- Birkenau Memorial is one such example. It put me in the heart of history, immersing me in the shocking past of Poland; I recall spending hours on the spot, trying to come to terms with what the Jewish community had been through. As I walked through those gates, I felt an eerie feeling as though there were ghosts lurking around. It made my skin crawl and I went numb.
I bought the Auschwitz day tour. It was a half day tour as the memorial is located 68 kms away from Krakow. The tour takes you on a guided tour with headsets and you visit each building discovering images and artifacts related to the prisoners.
As I dove deeper into the atrocities committed, I had a heavy feeling in my chest. I do not think I have the right words to describe how I felt. As much as I felt pain and rage, It sparked a feeling of deep gratitude of my upbringing and how like the UAE had granted a privileged and safe life. While we may learn subjects of the world in the school, nothing can give you practical education like travel. I got mine.
After witnessing such a change in my perspective, it is almost impossible to go back to being who you are. I have traveled quite a bit, but never solo, but I hope to change that in the years to come. I hope to visit Japan later this year. I cannot wait to embark on this journey.
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