Travel is a great way to enhance your civics knowledge. It’s a fascinating way to learn about America through the lens of hikes, road trips, and really any mode of travel. Recently, I taught my Jr. High civics students a lesson about travel using three principles:
1. You leave home (travel) to find things different, not the same.
Isn’t it funny how we set out on a journey and want things to be just as they always are! We want our same trail, same favorite foods to taste the same way, the climate to be at our comfort level and the like. I recently went to California, where it rained a whole lot the entire time we were there. Did that stop us from having fun? Absolutely not! Instead, we borrowed umbrellas, walked a couple of miles during the day and took leisurely walks along the ocean at night. We explored the area by foot (best way to travel 🙂 We don’t let inclement weather stop us. We’ve been on vacation when it was a balmy -35 below zero. That didn’t stop us from going out and doing some exploring of the town using a “hop on, hop off” transit feature.
Turns out that my students could relate to leaving behind the familiar to embrace the adventure of the unknown. The kids said that they “met new people and had to be flexible on trips.”
2. You don’t take the trip. Rather the trip takes you.
This saying was brought to my attention years ago in a travel article. I never forgot it. It helps when the unexpected happens, like delays, languages lost in translation, getting lost with no signal on the rented GPS. It works when the coffee is too strong/weak or your favorite food isn’t anywhere to be found and you are craving it. The trip takes you to unknown caverns off the beaten path, and you may even find your next home around the world or on the next block.
One student told us of a rerouted vacation that took them to another state. Another told us of car trouble. We talked about how many thousands of travelers were stranded when planes couldn’t fly. We concluded that you make your plans, but when the unexpected happens, “going with the flow” and having a little extra “pocket change” saves the trip.
3. You won’t return home the same. Travel changes you.
When I return home from travel, I throw things out. It’s like I didn’t notice these items until I realized they weren’t needed. Moreover, I’ve made life decisions when distractions weren’t around to cause delay.
The students had to think a little deeper about this one because they weren’t sure they wanted to be changed. In the end, change is good, yes change is good.
Without a doubt, if we don’t leave home to explore the neighborhood and meet neighbors or explore beyond the city limits, we miss the great opportunity before us to challenge ourselves. Why not meet new people and embracing the adventure—two things that make us better citizens.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.🇺🇸
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