The Effects of Traveling from a Young Age – as told by the voice of Rockonliving’s eldest daughter, Kayah (age 16) for her English 101 Class.

Our family trip to Stonehenge, England

            Everyone, at some point in their lives, has to take a history course. One reads and learns of the absolutely horrific events of the Holocaust and the conquests of the Roman Empire, but it is a completely different experience to stand at the entrance of Auschwitz or to see the Forum from the Colosseum.

They become a part of oneself.

David by Michelangelo
Family trip to Italy

Participating in travel from a young age can completely transform someone. The act of traveling opens boundaries and enables one to gain different skill-sets in addition to being immersed in one’s destination.

Travel requires a great deal of planning, and bringing children along during travels may sometimes seem unnecessary or even wasteful. However, travel can help with strengthening one’s social skills, cultivating one’s critical thinking abilities and developing healthy lifelong habits, in addition to nurturing one’s sense of self and expanding one’s worldview.

Pompeii, Italy

Social skills are an important part of communication in life, and travel helps to refine these. Some people have a certain hesitation or reservation when asking for directions, about food allergies, or things they need, but there comes a point when one needs to know certain things. Travel forces some to go out of their comfort zone to ask someone about what they need, cultivating communication skills, which can only be improved through actual conversation.

Friends I made from all over the world while studying at Oxford University, England last summer.

Additionally, social skills not only develop one’s ability to ask for the things they need or want, but they also allow for friendships to develop. Many people are in the same situations: they are a little awkward with other people or they might struggle to make friends. Travel is an excellent way to cultivate one’s social skills, to meet people from all over the world and to develop lasting friendships.

However, travel can be unpredictable.

During our trip to Yosemite, our car was broken into and my entire backpack was stolen. Even though that happened, we still had an amazing trip.

Consequently, traveling develops one’s critical thinking and problem-solving abilities: skills one uses constantly when traveling and back at home. There are many times when critical thinking is essential to traveling, such as when one is lost, when one’s gate or terminal changes, or when one’s flight is delayed or ahead of schedule.

Many travelers find themselves lost or disoriented when traveling to a new location. Understanding or learning how to use maps to effectively determine one’s location is vital to having a safe and easy trip.

Furthermore, various locations have many different methods of travel: train, underground, airplane, taxi. One’s critical thinking and problem-solving abilities are sharpened to figure out how to use different methods of travel, such as determining which train to get on, or which terminal to be in. Most importantly, people can use critical thinking to apply their knowledge of history to their location to create a deeper, contextualized understanding of Earth.

Likewise, traveling can establish good habits and behaviors that will serve one for life.

Traveling often requires seemingly extraordinary amounts of sitting around, such as at the airport, on an airplane, taxi or train. These experiences can teach people the valuable skills of having patience and not complaining.

When traveling in groups and deciding what to do, often there will be disagreements between members. Experiences like those can create a flexible, easier-going mindset, enabling people to adopt more of a go-with-the-flow mentality.

Additionally, traveling can be very expensive—meals, hotels, Airbnbs, transportation and extra things, like souvenirs—it all adds up. A large aspect of travel is money management, before and during the trip. However, money management is an important life skill to have as one grows and learning how to effectively do so from a young age will only be beneficial in the future.

Moreover, traveling expands one’s worldview and opens one’s eyes to different cultures and customs, all while developing a sharpened and more unified sense of the world around us.

Eiffel Tower, Paris

A huge benefit of traveling is being exposed to other cultures: beliefs, language, cuisine, fashion. Learning of different people’s beliefs can challenge one’s own beliefs and can open countless barriers.

This challenge allows people to grow into the best versions of themselves.

When traveling, one may encounter a difference in language. However, it does not have to be a barrier: if one takes the time to learn a little bit about the culture and language of their destination, they may be able to communicate in a foreign land. This increases one’s language skills and allows for more interactions between people.

Furthermore, traveling can teach people to care. When one visits a new location, they develop a special relationship with it, so when something good or bad happens to it, they may react in a very personal way. Seeing different cultures of the world before one’s eyes from a young age opens the mind and allows one to see the world as a whole. This grows one’s ability to think on a global scale, which is needed now more than ever.

In conclusion, traveling from a young age has many benefits that span over a multitude of areas. Not only does travel expand one’s worldview and potentially challenge one’s beliefs, but it also benefits one’s social and critical thinking skills, establishes strong, lifelong habits and encourages one to grow into a more confident, true version of themselves.

When one can cultivate those from a young age, it only sets them up for a brighter future.

The world is connected—now more than ever—and travel helps to develop a well-rounded citizen of this world.

Earth is facing unprecedented problems, which is requiring people to work together on a global scale, like never before. Travel can create a sense of empathy and universal humanity, which can pull apart barriers and allow humankind to partner together on this unparalleled scale.

One question: where to next?

Until Next time, RockonLIVING, friends!