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Do You Think Travel Helps Us Shift Our Perspectives and Set Goals For Improvement?

Part 1

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New Years…. Yes, for many of us, New Year’s Day represents the line in the sand that we have drawn to initiate change. This year, I set a rigid and high expectation for myself of blogging every day of school. As the end of December drew near, I found myself struggling to organize and articulate a new theme for blogging. Finally, I decided on the theme of Resetting with Resolutions and resigned myself to slow down and give myself permission to pivot, given the latest Covid news. I decided to begin posting my blogs on January 10, the school return date for B.C. students. This would give me more time to flush out thoughts on goal setting. I am not holding myself hostage to self-imposed deadlines, embracing patience while I persist.

Although my blogging deadline was no longer a hurdle, my mind has continued to struggle with the topic of setting renewed and refreshed goals for 2022. Given the constant state of stressful Covid flux and pivot, I couldn’t help but wonder if other people are finding it more difficult to think about change and self-development. Our worlds have shrunk as we all are required to spend even more time at home. How can we begin to think critically if we can’t see the forest for the trees? What other atypical strategies can be implemented?

Then bingo, it happened. As the old saying goes: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I was blessed with inspiration from author Kim Letson, a fellow member of the Comox Valley Writers Society after reading two of her travel memoirs (Pomegranates at 4800 Metres & Soul of a Nomad: The Journey Continues). Kim Letson’s remarkable life experiences as a soldier, mother, wife, daughter, world traveller, gardener, and optimistic storyteller inspired me to ‘connect new dots’ in my quest to set goals for 2022.

What were my two main inspiring take-aways garnered from Kim’s writing? Perspective shifting and planning. This blog will concentrate on the power of perspective shifting.

Kim’s books illustrate the power of travel. Kim reminds us that by leaving the safety of our own backyards and courageously adventuring to new territories we are able to gain empathy for others as we experience cultures, lifestyles, communication, history and economy of our chosen travelled lands. We are humbled as we become The Other; the new different one. Kim shares a multitude of her experiences across the world that require her to silently observe without judgment, listen, question and learn new ways of coping or in certain cases surviving. She demonstrates how living in the thick of a new existence, she learns to appreciate what she has at home, discovers her strengths and comes to an appreciation of her own weaknesses. Although travel in every way opens our eyes, Kim’s example of total surrender by immersing herself in a new culture exemplifies this level of humility. Travelling outside of our homes allows us to shift our perspectives and guides us to reflect on what we value, what we appreciate and how we can improve. It’s a great first step in determining critical areas of self-development.

MC, how can we use the experience of travelling outside our homes when we are faced with Covid restrictions? We can read travel memoirs and books set in other cultures, such as Kim Letson’s. For our children, there are a number of picture books that depict other countries and cultures with beautiful illustrations or incredible photography.

For all ages, film is another excellent method of experiencing another country without travel. These cover both documentaries and fictional movies that aim to not only inform the audience of cultural differences but advocate for equity and diversity. We can also learn about the world from films and series that cover global warming, ecological sustainability, or global food culture, such as the Feed Phil series.

Examining and experiencing other cultures puts our own struggles into perspective. For those of us in first-world countries, we can gain an appreciation and renewed gratitude for many of the lifestyle benefits we easily have available to us. Maybe the resolutions that we initially thought were a priority lose importance and seem trivial after we see the challenges of others. Possibly our resolutions to improve might focus on serving or supporting others? Maybe, instead of being upset about the Covid restrictions, we will celebrate and be thankful for what we have and make ‘lemons from lemonade’ by thinking outside of the box of ways we can learn, grow or serve others.

Tomorrow’s blog will look at how Kim Letson’s books have got me reflecting on the importance of planning while maintaining the flexibility to pivot.

Flying Fairy with a Wand

Three Great Films About Education in Other Countries:

The School in The Cloud

Children of the Snow Land

On the Way to School…. available on Netflix

Picture Books That Celebrate Diversity:

Interesting Listing That I’m Pledging to Get Through: