From time immemorial man has cherished travelling abroad. Ulysses, the famous Greek hero, on his – return journey from the battle of Troy visited several countries with a view to increasing his knowledge. During the time of the Renaissance in England, and on the continent, fOreign travel was common. In our country, orthodox Hindus resented foreign travel. Gandhiji had to face severe protest from the members of his caste when he decided to go to England to study law. The Seth, the headman of the community accosted Gandhiji thus :
“In the opinion of the caste, your proposal to go to England is not proper. Our religion forbids voyages abroad. We have also heard that it is not possible to live there without compromising our religion. One is obliged to eat and-drink with Europeans.
Foreign travel helps one to get rid of conservatism and develop a cosmopolitan outlook. When one travels-abroad one comes into contact with people belonging to the various classes. One understands their morality, customs and manners and the progress various countries have achieved in several fields.
Foreign travel is very good to study history. The facts, mentioned in history can be understood much better if we visit the places concerned. A visit to the excavated towns of Harappa (West Pakistan) and Mohenjo Dard (Sind in Pakistan) will help us to appreciate the Indus Valley Civilization. The gigantic size of the Pyramids, the most famous of the seven wonders can be estimated vividly only when we see them with our own eye seeing believes.
Foreign travel is also the means to study the geography of the world. We shall be able to under Stand -clearly the climate, weather and the location of the famous places in the world, if we visit the countries concerned. We can see famous rivers, lakes, mountains, volcanoes and waterfalls, etc.
Foreign travel has helped a few persons to write books on history: They are famous now. Herodotus, the father of history, traveled a lot. The information he had collected helped him in giving vivid accounts of the Persian Wars, the Egyptian civilization and civilizations of the ancient world. Marco Polo, the famous Venetian traveler visited Kubla Khan, China, Armenia, Iraq and Tibet. Travels in the East, dictated by him to a captive while he was in prison opened the magnificence of the Far East to Europe. Edward Gibbon’s imagination was stirred when he visited Rome and that visit made him write The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Foreign travel has been turned to account by a few scientists. We are reminded of Charles Darwin. His travel in the naval ship “Beagle”, that went round the world, gave him an opportunity to collect the material required for his theory of evolution. Darwin himself said, “This was the most important event in my life and determined my whole career.”
In short, travelling is one of the best means of education. According to Francis Bacon, travel in the younger sort is a part of education, in the elder, a part of experience.