Announcing the Fly High Scholarship Winner in 2016/2017

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It’s time for one aspiring traveler to take to the skies with a little extra cash in 2017. The FlightNetwork.com team is eager to announce the winner of our latest Flight Network Scholarship. Abha Pataudi of Brampton, Ontario, will receive a scholarship of $1,000 to use toward her global travel dreams.

Congratulations Abha!

The Power of Travel: Self Realization’s Greatest Tool

By Abha Pataudi

Travelling is one topic least talked about during the early years of a child’s life. Children are shown the importance of keeping up in school to ensure they have a brighter future aided by the knowledge they gather. No doubt knowledge gained through school is appreciated because of the convenience it carries, but it is not the only way to gain it. More than ever before people are starting to accept that not all students learn the same. For some, quality education can come from exploring the world and learning from hands on experiences and I happen to fit into this category.

Although I appreciate and respect the teachings I received in school, after hearing of my partner’s experience with travelling it made me feel like I’ve missed out a great deal. My parents have been the traditional 9-5 workers so like them, I am expected to go to school to get a good education and hopefully start working my way up on the corporate ladder. But I realize the importance of experiencing the world and making it my teacher instead, after all “Jobs fill your pocket, adventures fill your soul” (Jaime Lyn Beatty). Foreign travel helps to contribute to a person’s education by allowing them to attain knowledge using all senses. An individual can experience the taste, sounds, sights, smell and the touch of a culture by being present in the environment where the knowledge is rich as it comes straight from the source. Experiencing all aspects of a different culture can be fascinating if received with an open arms approach of travel. One of the biggest things I’ve realized is that everything is about perspective. It is so easy to say something is wrong, such as a tradition or someone’s way of life but to take yourself out of your prejudice is the largest hurdle. Everyone is conditioned a specific way due to the influence of government policy on education and the environment in which we live. Therefore, to understand the knowledge gained in school we need to accept and understand the differences that are created between nations due to various factors. Theoretically speaking, we can sit in economics, world history, sociology, and business classes and learn about these different factors. But, the ultimate riches of knowledge come from the source.

Travel is a way into the depths of your own mind. Not only do individuals benefit from having a richer knowledge of our world but travelling gives an opportunity to ask yourself about the bigger questions of your life. In our busy daily lives, we often do not have the time to think about or reflect about the bigger questions and pictures of our existence. It is so easy to lose sight of things when you are living a routinely life but travel is the opportunity that lets everything in life balance out. It is a way to gain new perspective and appreciate the resources we often take for granted in our home country. By going somewhere new where you have no ties, you forget about yourself and the problems in your life that you tend to inflate. For the time you are abroad you start to understand how little your own struggles can be compared to the misfortunes or livelihood of other people.

Expanding our awareness of the diversity of peoples, cultures, traditions and ways of life around the world can be so rewarding. Travel allows us to peek into the lives of millions of others for a short time. As social creatures, we thrive on interactions, it is comforting to us even if there are many differences that we witness on the surface. More than the new experiences gained, travelling opens minds to the unity of humans even though there is diversity among us. The compassion and care from one country to the next can be felt by the hospitality one receives in different forms. While you travel, you will always meet someone along the way that wants to help you, show you their way of living and learn something from you as well. Our differences are unique and by sharing our experiences with others there is a sharing of power. Sharing experiences can emerge a new attitude within whoever you meet. That change in perspective is what drives our curiosity and desire to further attain knowledge so that we can be autonomous and critical thinkers; this is the beauty of travel. Not only do you help yourself by travelling as a way of self-realization but along the way, someone you might meet can learn something from you and your experiences. Even people who are not fortunate to travel can learn from your experiences just by the collective sharing of ideas, views and life; who knows you might just inspire and ignite a new desire in someone else.

What individuals learn in school is like the introduction to an essay, what they can gain from travelling experiences and formulating their own opinions, completes the essay. For these reasons, even though I come from a family in which travel is not a focal point, I am determined to make it my main goal to travel. There is simply no right age for travel. You must go out there and do it.

Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living- Miriam Beard

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About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a freelance writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, learning new cultures and surfing new waves.

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