Great Lessons from Travel
”I set out alone… swayed by an overmastering impulse within me and a desire long-cherished in my bosom to visit these illustrious sanctuaries. So I… quit all my dear ones, female and male, and forsook my home as birds forsake their nests.”
Ibn Battuta, the great traveller, writer & explorer of the 14th century made a truly epic voyage. His Islamic Faith and tenacity drove him to visit every possible place, while overcoming numerous difficulties and challenges.
His curiosity led him to travel purely for the pleasure of it. And his self made rule was ”never to travel any road a second time”.
While on his travels, this master traveller found opportunities to share his knowledge & foster meaningful relationships.
Travel is undeniably a great form of education. It opens up the doors to many unique learning opportunities. It also comes with many lessons and experiences for developing the mind, body & soul.
Travelling makes me reflect about the Greatness of Allah – the One Who created the heavens and earth and all that is in between. Meeting people with distinct characters and defining behaviours from place to place are all from the signs of His Greatness.
”O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted”. [Q49:13]
So the next time you find yourself on a road trip or train bound; flying or sailing across miles – think about the distance you are covering and how this may reflect on your surroundings along the way and especially on the final destination – of people, climate and culture.
Take a minute to reflect.
Allah’s earth is wide. He spread it out & placed everything on it for our use. There are so many countries and cities to explore.
Travelling gives you the opportunity to visit such places; explore and ponder upon His Might and Power. You will surely encounter a variety of His creations & creatures as you travel across different lands.
You also have an opportunity to guard your actions while travelling and set them upon the right intention, and stay away from anything that will displease the Creator of the Earth.
Similar situations [as yours] have passed on before you, so proceed throughout the earth and observe how was the end of those who denied. [3:137]
Travel through the lands, and you will be blown away by the differences in landscape, weather, cultural tendencies and human behaviour. It is simply amazing how we have all been created to suit our environments and resources found within.
From family trips and the Holy Pilgrimage to Dawah and knowledge seeking opportunities, travel brings many benefits and gives many memories to share as well as new things to learn.
Here are some profound lessons I have learned from travelling.
It is temporary. The trip could be for only a few days, weeks or even months. Yet, the time comes soon enough when you have to pack up and return home. Whatever the activities and their benefits, that time comes on the itinerary where it reads – ‘return flight’.
Just as you booked it, so will you have to fulfil its return requirements. Soon enough, you will have only memories and consequences of your actions and inaction. Your intention and goals determines if you have fulfilled the purpose of the journey.
It opens you up to new cultures. Travel gives you the opportunity to eat different kinds of food, learn new languages, and meet different people. This fosters tolerance, as you realise people have different lifestyles and what you once thought was special to your community exists somewhere else. But most likely with a different twist.
It defines your significance on the entire planet. Through travel, you come to a realisation that the world with billions of people contained on it, are existing without your input. You make little, or no difference in their lives. This gives you a good reason to be humble, and think about your Creator.
He fashioned us all and provides for us all. We are always in need of Him, but He is not in need of us.
It gives you new ideas. Whether it is in the lifestyle, habits & behaviours; buying and selling principles; architecture or recycling ideas – Seeing is always better than searching up on Google or reading from other sources. Visiting different places helps to get new ideas and connect to different concepts coming from the travel experience.
It can make you money wise. You either stick to your luggage allowance or pay extra. It is that simple. Travel forces you to balance between wants & needs. So while you may be able visit many sights and sounds, you cannot buy everything you admire whether for yourself or as gifts for family and friends. Travelling light is a blessing and a lesson for all times.
It aids in planning. Travel involves a lot of planning. So with travel, you learn to plan through various changes and choices. Whether its planning your travel route, deciding about places to visit, with travel partner/Mahram or making a budget; you have to make plans when travelling from start to the finish.
The lessons from travel are numerous. You can use the opportunities available from your own travels to gain from such lessons – whether you are a frequent traveller across the world or an occasional traveller between cities
Just as we journey from place to place, so is our soul on a journey through this temporary life to the hereafter. You can travel away from sins, and journey towards Allah in humility and luggage of good deeds.
And stay away from tempting but corrupt deeds, no matter how insignificant it may seem. You will become burdened with an excess luggage which will slow you down through life.
Let me end with an interesting insight from an inspirational leader, Mufti Ismail Menk (@muftimenk) who shares his personal experience on travelling & meeting with people of different backgrounds [via twitter].
Each time I travel, I learn so much by meeting people of diverse nationalities, cultures, religious backgrounds, thoughts and ideas.
It’s amazing how travelling can make us wiser, allowing us to understand others better and appreciate their goodness, where they have excelled over us and the common factors between us whilst learning from the few differences we may have.
It also makes me realise how petty we sometimes are in our own little circles whilst the huge globe has no time for that. [Mufti Menk]
How far have your travels taken you? Where would you love to travel to? And why? Please share below the greatest lesson(s) you have learned from your travels?
Photo Credit: Josemanuelerre via cc