The Roman philosopher Seneca said that ‘voyage, travel, and change of place impart new vigour to the mind’. And Augustine of Hippo said that ‘The world is a book, of which, they who never stir from, home read only a page’.
Long ago, travelling was an adventure. But the old concept of travelling for pilgrimage has now been changed. Now it is mostly for pleasure as it gladdens our heart and broadens our mind. Apart from that, travelling is now regarded as an essential part of education. It is said that learning from books is only one part of education. Travelling is another part of it. In Europe and some other developed countries like Japan when a student is in a school or college or comes out of it, he goes out for travelling. It is an essential part of his education. Our poet Rabindranath Tagore said, “In education, reading and seeing must be combined.”
To see the unseen and to know the unknown is inherent in human nature. This curiosity leads men to travel from one place to another. And in this way of ‘seeing is believing’, travelling has a great educative value. Books provide us with only bookish knowledge but travelling can make it perfect. It brings us into contact with different people and different ways of life. We study closely their religions, customs and manners. In India, this promotes us to develop national unity through the realisation of diversity. We can overcome our narrowness, prejudices and superstitions too. Moreover, through travelling, we come to know that nature is a great teacher who teaches us good lessons. The mountains and the meadows, the streams and the rivers, the blue sky, the greenwood, the grey desert and the vast sea—all touch the soul of the traveller and move it deeply. They give him a glimpse of the wonders of the wide world and fill his mind with joy unforgettable. Travelling makes different subjects of study vivid and interesting. We read the majesty of the Himalayas, the vastness of the ocean and the beauty of the Taj from books. But we can know much more of them if we see them with our own eyes. It makes Geography and History and some other subjects like Political Science vivid—throbbing with life.
It is said that a man who has never stirred out of his narrow surroundings is like the proverbial frog in the well. He has a narrow vision of the world. Travelling breaks the narrowness and monotony of life and fills the mind with joy. It also develops resourcefulness in the face of unforeseen dangers and difficulties. We may not know the language of one place, and so feel utterly helpless. A hundred other difficulties may arise. The traveller will be more resourceful in devising means to overcome these. Closer contact with foreign people such as the people of the USA, Europe, China or Japan will make us familiar with their characteristics; and we may derive much benefit from the study of the peculiar way in which a nation is working out for its progress. Moreover, it teaches us to bear hardship and thus it becomes a good training for success in the struggle of life.