Right now, I am longing to travel. Not because I dislike Copenhagen and don’t enjoy the beauty of the city and the blossoming and surprisingly warm spring. But for the sole reason that I love travelling.
But why am I so fond of travelling? Well, for many reasons, really. But mainly because I love being pulled out of my familiar surroundings, I love noticing how my senses are awakened, and how everything around me becomes subjects for exploration.
In order to see through what you take for granted or don’t question – because it is “just the way things are” – disruption or breaching of the familiar is sometimes required.
Travelling to unknown regions of the world is a classic example of a breaching experience: suddenly being pulled out of one’s comfort zone, unable to automatically navigate habitually in cafés, supermarkets or other public spaces, unfamiliar with social and practical conventions, and unable to immediately use simple objects like coffee makers, shower heads or hotel room keys, because they operate in a different way than the ones at home, disrupts what we take for granted and makes us look at our surrounding world with fresh eyes.
However, when not travelling to foreign regions, we can beneficially at times “force” through breaching in order to be able to disrupt our well-known surroundings and rediscover well-known objects. Art or fiction can work as breaching initiators. A piece of art, a novel, a play or a movie can sometimes open our eyes or to turn our perspective upside down and make us see the world anew. At times, the experience of an art piece or the reading of a novel can constitute a “before-and-after-experience”, meaning that our world-perspective actually changes as a result of the experience. The surface of the world has been breached, and things suddenly seem different; perhaps more beautiful, or perhaps hopelessly insignificant. Furthermore, when being absorbed by art or fiction, we are momentarily pulled away from our daily chores and enforced to be present, which can promote reflection.
I love exposing my children to foreign cultures and environments and seeing how quickly they adapt. I think that we are by nature openminded, curious and explorative. It is natural for us to wish to expand our horizons.
As adults, we are lulled into apathy through our many daily chores and habitual actions. They define us, and we start believing that we need to do the same things time and again; like cycling the same way to work every day or eating dinner at exactly the same time every night, in order to maintain order in our lives. However, if we never seek to disrupt our comfort zone – perhaps by travelling to unknown parts of the world or by exposing ourselves to through-provoking literature or art – we stagnate and become closed minded.
I think that we know this on an unconscious level as children; that is why children are by nature curious, explorative and non-prejudice. And that is why children are so amazingly adaptive