Lessons Learnt When You Travel, As Told By A Muslim Millennial

Travel is a luxury I have always been so blessed with. In the beginning, it was about witnessing extraordinary landscapes and eating culturally unique food. It was tons of picture taking, video recording and uploading on social media. Not to say I was boasting about my frequent travels; it has always been more of sharing what brought me happiness.

As I get older and prioritise different things, what I look out for during my travels changes. When what you’ve experienced changes how you think, how you think is how you approach things. I no longer cared about dropping a pin on my location on Facebook or capturing the most Instagram-worthy shot. Instead, I seek knowledge and exposure. I pursue variation and the new.

Opens up your mind

It’s true when they say travelling broadens our perspective. We are more than just ourselves and our opinions, and going out to see the world made me realise just that. The things that I adopted and were taught to me as I grew up, were all jumbled up in my newly-adopted perspectives as I travel.

My travel experiences mould my mind a new way each time I come back from a trip. My opinions altered and my understanding of what kind of person I want to become bettered. I’ve discarded some aspects of my life when I deem it unimportant anymore, and I’ve picked up certain morals and customs that I realised has always been important to me. 

Forging friendships with unique people

Image credit: Azra Syakirah

We’re only one person, experiencing our own lives. I’ve met countless amazing people as I trot through the globe. Regardless of their race as well as religious beliefs, I enjoyed each and every one of their companies. To me, it’s even more interesting that way.

Hearing out a non-Muslim’s views and stands on Islam or religion, in general, humbles me. Hearing another Muslim’s lifestyle and practice from a different country or region makes me reflect on my own lifestyle and practice.

Religion is not the only topic that makes international friendships unique. It’s learning about their morals and customs. Getting to know another person’s culture from someone who lived it instead of watching a movie about it or reading it on the web. It’s a priceless and also a penniless experience. Also, making a new friend is never a bad thing. 

Compassion and appreciation

Fortunately, while I grew up in a country that is tolerant of both race and religion tolerant, it’s different when you’re in a whole new foreign country. Not being surrounded by people of similar tolerant upbringing as you shed some light on a whole new perspective. 

I’ve learnt it’s not just tolerance, but more of acceptance. It’s not about being less judgemental, it’s about understanding. I see everyone else as going through their own path and their own hurdles. 

Adaptation and evolution

Image credit: Azra Syakirah

It’s the 21st century, and who would’ve thought our day and age would evolve as quickly as it is now? The traditional, old-fashioned way of promoting my religion might’ve worked in the olden days, but it’s not as effective now as it was before.

In my adventures and my various uphills and downhills, I’ve realised that the best way to bring about positivity and good intentions to my belief and religion is by setting an example in a language where it’s most commonly understood — by being a nice person.

I am myself first, and when the people I encounter and interact with sees me for my kindness and compassion, it gives off an impression that the people in the community of my faith are just the same and not like how they portray in the media. Instead of preaching, I spread the message of peace of my religion through my actions and interactions.

Each trip is a learning journey, and each time I either come back a more knowledgeable person or a more confused one. Taking two steps backwards doesn’t mean I’m not improving to be a better person and Muslim, it just means I’m progressing and finding different ways to reach the destination we all aim to.

Also read: Muslim Travellers: Tips to Creatively Save For Your Next Trip

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