“Travel through the land and observe how He began creation. Then Allah will produce the final creation.” – Quran 29:20
Instagram is a wonderful tool that connects us with our friends and family. It also connects us with seemingly like-minded people all around the world and provides a platform to inspire and to be inspired. Such is the influence of social media, we can get carried away. Taking you back to a land before smartphones, stripped down and raw, here are some of the reasons why people travel!
1. Travelling connects us with nature.
The same Sun hits you in the face. You’re about to pull out your phone like everyone else, and then you hesitate. Not this time, maybe not ever. Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.
Credit: @chrispoops on Instagram
The World in its purest form is left to you in this state. You see the full spectrum of colours in its billion different shades, while the most mankind can recreate is in a 120 pack Faber-Castell. Developing a personal relationship with nature is an experience that will make you emotional. The picture stays in your mind for years, before you see it again. A sense of sweet nostalgia is invoked when the sight or smell of something familiar back home occurs, appreciation for a place previously known to you from the other side of an iPhone screen.
Credit: @nissagobp on Instagram
Not letting the distraction of a camera interrupt a personal experience with nature. All but a fleeting moment, the moment can pass without you ever seeing it through your phone.
2. Travelling connects us with people
Being a traveller is akin to being a guest in someone’s home. Respect must be extended to the hosts, before it is reciprocated back. Travelling is a humbling experience in that your knowledge of the the place lies only in what you’ve observed from afar (online research). In such cases, small help can do a world of good for the itinerary. This opens many interaction opportunities to connect with the locals, observing their way of life.
Aside from observing, getting a chance to talk to them offers you an authentic experience in learning the local language. Spoken languages and official languages sometimes differ slightly, by the existence of well, ‘lingo’. By practising informal use of the language in everyday real conversations with real people hastens the learning curve in being fluent! Connecting through people offers also them a chance to learn about your own heritage. This is to clear any misunderstandings or stereotypes about your home country or the kind of person you are, because of it. You have a moral responsibility to educate these people of your place of birth, as they do theirs.
Credit: Japanexperterna.se on Flickr
Instagram offers exposure and a first-look insight to the people you think you may know all about, but there are more to people than just how they appear.
3. Travelling offers alternative interests
For most of us, we live in a digital age synonymous for its use of the English language. As such, we consume a lot of our entertainment created out of the West. Film, music, art and literature have all been tied closely to the greats of Mark Twain, the genius of Mark Nolan and the pulsating notes of Beyoncé. They are heralded as the best in these specific art forms, but what happens when you are in a place that just doesn’t play that “Havana-nanana”?
Credit: Morgan Calliope on Flickr
You now swear by your favourite films. They don’t occur to you as foreign, just enjoyable. New champions in: Hayao Miyazaki for Studio Ghibli, Haruki Murakami for his storytelling, and Nujabes for inspiring a whole generation to create music out of their bedrooms. You don’t know where you’d be without that trip to Japan, but an extension of you now started somewhere in that cosy, little theatre in Tokyo.
Credit: Books Kinokuniya Malaysia on Facebook
4. Travelling develops empathy
Travelling is a luxury. Having the opportunity for international travel is one, that a large part of the world’s population cannot afford to do. Travelling bridges the rich and the poor of two extremes, to come together and share in a common place.
Credit: Volunteer Morocco on Facebook
Much of these countries have dark history behind them. Countries ravaged by wars and colonialism in the past, can teach us much about humanity’s greed but it also lends us to know the extent of humanity’s kindness and bravery with stories of unwitting valour by real wartime heroes. War memorials decorate the city centres, it serves as a reminder to those who fought for good. Take a detour out of these city centres and you will see the effects of war still apparent in real time: poverty.
Credit: @refugeesthroughmyeyes on Instagram
Donate to the appropriate organisations or lend a hand to these causes with voluntary missions yourself. Because no photograph can teach you how to feel.
5. Travelling makes you bolder
Taking the plunge to book a flight to anywhere takes a dedicated amount of planning! And yet, no itinerary in the world can confidently prepare you for what actually happens during your stay. Courage, adventure and dumb luck (or lack thereof) are traits that come to develop or show prominently in your travels.
Credit: Chris Ford on Flickr
Interaction, especially over language barriers, brings an unfamiliar situation. So, getting your intentional message across instantly counts as a win. The boost in confidence by achieving this small feat prompts the next bold action and several more after that. Not long till you’re bargaining with a snakey salesman on the grimy, street markets of Shanghai. Small wins accumulate into big ones.
Credit: Kevin Jaako on Flickr
6. Travelling recharges your batteries
The grey walls, a monochromatic wardrobe and brewed coffee as dark as your favourite part of the day. Sink into your bed made for one, flicking through the Instagram-feed pinned in a different part of the world. The contrast is apparent, “I need a getaway.”
Mental health is just as important as any aspect of your body. Neglect this, and you could very well feel trapped inside your own mind. Travelling takes away all of the stresses at work and instead, puts out a well-meaning conundrum to your brain: what should I have for breakfast?
Credit: Roberto Trombetta on Flickr
Waltzing through the office, your colleagues can’t help but notice the shift in energy. Your Instagram tells them that you’ve been in Bali, exhausting your limbs to sit on top of Mount Agung but this is as lively and energetic as you’ve ever been.
7. Finding your community
My favourite part of travelling has to be discovering a place for Islam in a different part of the world. This place where two cultures converge: national identity and religion, depicts a way of life similar to yours and yet worldly distinct.
Credit: @amirtavakoliphotography on Instagram
The mosque is open to anyone and everyone, a place for spiritual healing and growth. Your appearance is sure to turn heads, so embrace it and let it naturally develop into a stimulating conversation or an invitation to a local Halal shop for a meal. They are curious about you, as you are of them. Sharing an authentic meal experience forges brotherhood, while gaining an insight into a Muslim’s way of life as per their nationality.
Credit: @alaebel on Instagram
[ P.S. Here’s 8 things no one tells you about travelling as a Muslim! ]
Travelling is a wonderful ideation used to connect to the world. While, the social media side of things is one not to downplay, there are as many spiritual benefits that come with. Therapy, healing and being informed is what you don’t talk to your friends about on Instagram but is just as authentic to the contribution of your last trip!