To anyone who thinks that travelling abroad is the only way to experience a cultural rejoice, I have some news for you. Canada – with a landmass of nearly equivalent to that of Europe – has more Instagrammable beauty and Snapchattable experiences than any one person can handle.
Having been blessed with the opportunity to drive across this beautiful nation twice, travel to every province a handful of times, visit 2 of the three territories, study in our country’s largest metropolitan, work on the west coast, and grow up on the east coast (the actual east coast), I am confident that I have enough to say.
When I read this article in the Globe and Mail, I was excited. Get out there and travel Millennials! Formal education is valuable, but not as valuable as the lessons learned during travel. Travelling exposes the deep secrets about a person – you really learn a lot about yourself and the people you surround yourself with when you travel. Stepping out of your comfort zone, entering into a world of unknown.
But remember one thing: it’s a privilege. It’s not about getting the best picture; it’s about taking it all in. Some of the best trips I’ve taken involved a lot of mistakes and no internet to help me figure it out. Sometimes the struggle is the experience. Problem solving, respect, empathy, patience, and adaptability are skills that can’t be learned in a classroom, but are the skills that are required in life. You’re lucky to be able to travel – not everyone can.
So what makes Canada so special? Think about it for a moment – Europe has ~50 countries in its 10M km2, Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories. Name two provinces/territories that are the same in culture… Right? Now name two cities that are similar in culture… Exactly. Just because our government is centralized, doesn’t mean that we are all the same. Even in a small province like New Brunswick –Indigenous, Acadian, Loyalist, and other Immigrant histories have collided to create a colourful multicultural province. A four-hour drive from the North to the South is the equivalent in distance to a drive between Zagreb, Croatia to Venice, Italy (and stopping for lunch in Ljubljana, Slovenia.) One would even argue that there are just as many “languages” spoken in the province of New Brunswick!
This is my point to all of the Millenials who are travelling abroad searching for a “cultural” experience… Canada is multicultural, multi-landscape and multi-heritage. The great thing about meeting new people is learning something new about their culture and teaching them something new about your culture!
Before you travel abroad, travel Canada first – then take that experience with you to show the world why you’re proud to be Canadian!