Travel changes you. It reframes the way you look at yourself and your life.
Have you ever had a moment of real clarity? That moment when you stop and think, “yes, this is why I’m here.” I’ve had many of those moments in my life – from plucking up the courage to leave my job; to deciding that I needed to move out of my flat and live somewhere alone. Each of these critical moments and decisions have had one thing in common: they happened whilst I was travelling.
I was inspired by this line from A Tale of Modern Britain by Caleb Femi. The spoken word artist has collaborated with Heathrow airport to discuss modern Britain and what it is to travel in 2018. He plays with the idea of departures and arrivals and how we – as tourists – are all on a journey.
What It Means To Be British
Discussing what it means to be British is a volatile and potentially risky subject. As a nation, we are at a crossroads. Politically, things are changing and our national identity is evolving. Some see it as exciting, an opportunity; others fear that our ‘Britishness’ is at stake.
But what does being British mean to you? I believe that you cannot truly understand and appreciate what something (or someone) means to you until you leave it.
Think back to the last time you got on a flight. You leave the airport with a feeling of excitement – journeying to an unknown land of foreign languages, cultures and food. Explorer, globetrotter, traveller, pioneer, pilgrim – whatever you call yourself, you are set to change.
When you are abroad, you question your identity. Sure, you want to live like a local, but you also have a constant reminder that you are different.
But it’s not all take, take, take. You may be exploring and consuming new cities and their culinary delights, but your very presence as a foreigner has an impact on the people you meet. You shape their view of who you are and what it means to be British. Always be respectful.
Appreciating What You Have
And just as you left with the prospect of fresh and new experiences, you return with an appreciation of what you have and what makes home truly your home.
The accents, the food, your friends, your family – they’re here and they’re unique to you.
But you’re different. You’ve evolved. Even without really noticing it, your travel experience has shaped you. From the, “ah, no way would I go back there,” to the, “they were the most welcoming group of people I’ve ever met,” you have taken a part of them back with you.
The Top 3 Things Brits Get Asked When They’re Abroad
- Have you met the Queen? – 19%
- Which football team do you support? – 32%
- Are you from London? – 33%
Where Are You Going? And Who Will You Become?
The next time you’re sat in the airport, wherever you’re going and for however long; stop. Take a moment to remember the person that you are and the person that you might become.
Travel broadens the mind and strengthens the heart. The airport terminal is a portal to a new version of yourself.
Heathrow is the UK’s hub airport, home to more than 80 airlines connecting to more than 180 destinations. Every year Heathrow welcomes over 78 million passengers with a commitment to ‘making every journey better’. Following an investment of more than £11 billion over the past 10 years, passengers have voted Heathrow the ‘Best Airport in Western Europe’, ‘Best Airport Terminal’ for Terminal 5 and ‘Best Airport for Shopping’ 8 years in a row.