Grab your sunglasses… or reading glasses

“Travel robs us of such refuge. Far from our own people, our own language, stripped of all our props.”

Albert Camus

Not only does travelling to other countries help us discover how other people live, but it also helps us refrain from taking our ways of living, habits, and behaviour for granted. It takes us out of our comfort zones and enriches our experience. We learn about the ills of prejudice and the beauties of unfamiliar territories. Like Camus says, we get stripped of our languages, our ways of thought, our routines. Achieving this, however, doesn’t always require a plane ride. We can transport ourselves anywhere we like when we read a book, enjoy a nice foreign language film, or listen to a piece of delightful music.

With books, movies, plays, and songs, you can be transported instantly to the place of your desire. Indeed, reading Gabriel García Márquez will take you straight to the streets of Colombia. Delve into Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry and feel yourself fly on a magic carpet to India. Listen to Mozart’s symphony and find yourself in the quaint streets of Austria. Watch an Eric Rohmer film and feel yourself drift through the screen and suddenly alongside the fine and pompous gentlemen and women in France. Listen to Tchaikovsky and trudge through the snow on the lanes of St. Petersburg.

Travel, like art, is limitless. And especially in the world we are in today, with an unexpected pandemic and with an increasing amount of materialism, we should encourage ourselves to discover more and feel a greater sense of curiosity and gratitude for our colourful and multicultural global society. So, as Camus says, let’s strip ourselves of our props and discover something new, whether it is in a foreign land, a curious film, or in that unusually interesting book you’ve been planning to start.

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