I was sitting in the bank and overheard a conversation between an African gentleman (customer) and an English-born gentleman (bank customer service). The conversation was on travel and the banker stated 'Travelling is the only way one can become 'richer', not with money, however, but rich with culture, understanding and awareness'. I strongly agree with this statement. Travelling provides us with a deeper understanding of the world around us and experiencing rich cultures put meaning and perspective into our own life.
Not only that, but it allows us to better learn ourselves and develop as individuals, for it is in the moments of discomfort and uncertainty that we are able to find what we are truly made of, and grow. Travelling also gives us a time out from our usual routines and stresses to experience both adventure and relaxation. From this vantage point we are able to reflect on our lives, our choices, and where things are headed to better steer us to our goals.
My supervisor and I often discuss happiness and the places we have been and the people we have met and reflect on the 'slums' in India. Walking through these communities there are many happy, smiling faces with huts that are adorned with colourful pieces of homemade artworks. Happiness and health is merely relative to our perspectives and beliefs. Pivoting ourselves to other aspects of cultural health can deepen our knowledge and provide nourishment to our souls.
While the personal development aspect of travel is second-to-none, cultural and traditional methods of cooking are fast becoming extinct and travelling is a fantastic way to familiarise yourself with these endangered arts. We as a community need to understand that these traditional methods of cooking and preparing food assist us to live at optimal health. For example, fermented foods are traditional methods of preserving and consuming food. The bacteria in fermented foods provides our body with the correct balance of gut bacteria, supporting the body to break down food and have more nutrition available. Preparing grains and nuts by soaking, grinding and cooking also supported our body to use their nutrition correctly. Losing these methods of cooking, trading spices, goods and so forth in traditional methods have impacted our health greatly. With the boom of commercial and processed foods we have long forgotten these traditions that have been passed down and taught through generations and are only now realising our mistake. We’ve taken the road of most convenient in our busy lives instead of what’s actually best for all- self, environment, others.