The Power of Traveling

With another journalist friend, I attended an interesting meet-up event of DC/MD/VA Avid World Travelers Forum at Teaism, a coffee shop in Washington DC. The event features individuals who love to travel and want to share their experiences with the rest of the people.

It was the first time I attended such a program although they organize around fifty events per year. I found it inspiring and revealing. I met some amazing people over there who have traveled to more than one hundred countries.  A woman said she had been to 40 countries only in 2011. All these people who gather at this event share a passion for traveling and story-telling.Such meetings are also remarkably helpful to network and meet new people. The event also helps the avid tourists to find travel partners or get tips about cheap and reasonable travel packages.

In last night’s event, a Chinese woman shared a nearly 345-slide Power Point presentation about her eight-day long trip to Iraq. The presentation was full of interesting, surprising, hilarious and inspiring pictures and information. The one-hour long presentation focused on the post-Saddam Iraq but visits to certain sites and buildings showed how deep an impact Saddam Husein, the country’s former dictator, had on the Iraqi society. A presentation on Iraq can miss anything but the element of history and religion. The presentation helped in understanding modern Iraq’s recent past and its current troubles.

What impressed me the most about this female tourist was how she captured every detail of her journey through her camera. She had photographed important buildings, food and almost everything to be able to put a long story together with the help of Power Point presentation. I think I should take more pictures during my trips and should also have at least a reason for taking a picture. Her presentation convinced me no detail about another country or culture is unimportant. Every piece of information that you share with your friends about your trip will be treated differently by different people. You don’t know who likes what, do you?

All participants, as well as the presenters, volunteer for the group to share intriguing stories and pictures. These events just compel you to get out of your comfort zone and explore the world.

I met a young American student who had recently given a presentation on Pakistan during a similar meet-up. He told me that he had spent three weeks in Pakistan and loved the country.

“Now I am Pakistan’s biggest cheerleader in the United States,” he said, “I encourage everyone to go there.” He said he had been to Lahore and several other places where he had a great time. “I want to go back to Pakistan,” he said.


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