Travelling to Make a Difference
When travelling, I’m always looking for ways to make my trip even more memorable. Just by doing little things, like spending the afternoon talking with a homeless guy in Lyon, sharing my food with someone who doesn’t have any in Lisbon, spending my day looking for the owner of a lost dog in Sintra or even hosting people back in home through Couchsurfing. These kinds of acts won’t change the world, but they will make us more human, and make us realise that maybe the world isn’t such a horrible place after all.
Whiling sitting on the floor beside the homeless boy in Lyon, a group of young tourists offered him a box of their leftover food from a restaurant. While sharing my chips with the woman in Lisbon, I hoped that my actions would inspire someone else to do the same thing. While I was spending my day with the adorable dog in Sintra, a Portuguese girl helped me call the four telephone numbers on its collar. She waited with me for almost an hour until the owners came to get him.
People like me are always worried about “finding our way,” and think that traveling might help with this objective. Instead of waiting for it to happen, we should worry more about making our own way by caring more for the others.
Even if the act of travelling has its own meaning and might be enough of a goal in and of itself, I feel that I need another meaning–a reason that makes my trek feel useful or productive.
We all have our own concerns, principles, motivations and interests. Personally, I’ve been looking for something to achieve during my trips. Even if the act of travelling has its own meaning and might be enough of a goal in and of itself, I feel that I need another meaning–a reason that makes my trek feel useful or productive.
I was starting to think that I was just making life more difficult for myself when I learned about other people who are achieving specific dreams through their travels. For example, one Argentinian family is traveling the world in an ecological motorhome called Libertad (freedom) for 80 months with the aim making people care about climate change and deforestation. To accomplish this, the parents and four children are making global warming visual by creating photos and videos and spreading awareness of the issues in over 110 countries.
Travelling to Make a Difference.
This TED talk also made me realize that tourism can cause change in a positive way. According to speaker and Palestinian activist Aziz Abu Sarah, travel can help “erode decades of hate” — as could be the case with Israelis and Palestinians. Travel is innately eye-opening and reveals fascinating possibilities to change the world.
And what about you? Do you feel the need to make an impact while travelling?
Photo by Maria Lusquinos Torres.