Besides my avid interest in travel, I am also very fond of studying history. I would consider myself a student and an amateur at the moment as I’m trying to find my way around the basics. However, I’ve had a longstanding interest in the subject as it allows me to travel back in time. Travelling back in time can be super useful when trying to making sense of today’s successes or failures as it allows you to see what caused certain things today.
One of the main reasons I decided to venture into history is because travelling then feels more meaningful to me. Whilst I make an effort to learn about the customs and cultures of a certain country when I travel, I also consider it an integral point to study a country’s history. I personally believe that the people of the country I am travelling to all have a history, whether that may be ancient history or modern history. Whatever the case, knowing about key events that transpired in the past can help you have a more sane and powerful experience. It gives you a good grasp of how people have changed over a period of time, how a certain society came to be and why people are the way they are.
I believe that ignorance, bigotry and hatred can be eliminated by two things; travelling (or learning about the world) and studying history. Travelling allows one to see, hear and experience other people, their lives, their food, their religions and also their way of life in general. This makes you realise how diverse the world is yet as humans how similar we are. Studying history on the other hand is one of the most powerful ways of taking your sensory experiences from travelling and bringing more meaning to it. The past causes the present and the future. No doubt about that. To understand why something happened somewhere, why a certain building is abandoned or why some countries are more diverse than others, it’s useful to study history.
History as a standalone subject is immensely refreshing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I love history as it allows me to go back in time and live with others. Some of those I go back to learn about may be hard to be around, whilst learning about others provides a breath of fresh air from the modern world. Learning about historical figures not only contributes to moral understanding, but also prompts one to behave morally. Humans love to imitate one another and our key way of doing this (which happens naturally and automatically) is by looking at others, whether that may be in person, on TV or on social media. When you read about the positive people in history, you come to realise that certain forms of courage, positivity and resilience no longer exists in today’s societies. One has to read about historical figures, societies and peoples with those positive qualities in order to emulate their behaviour and materialise that into society.
Coming back to travel and history, there is also the factor of monuments, landmarks, world wonders and many other sites around the world. Whilst many can be enjoyed visually by the naked eye, and even recorded as a special moment via writing and taking pictures, the mind is still left curious to know more. That’s why I prefer to either have a knowledgable guide or a well reviewed history guidebook which not only narrates what others have narrated but also questions certain historical points about a landmark. Knowing the history of something can change the way you perceive it and the way you write about it.
One last point I’ll mention before wrapping up; I believe that history should be questioned. Guidebooks are not history books. If you’re an avid history buff, start questioning what you read. Don’t take it for granted. If historians have had a habit of transmitting historical narratives without analysing (Ibn Khaldūn et al., n.d.), where do you think some guidebooks stand. For that reason, if you really want to know about the history of something, go directly to the history books.
Until next time, stay safe and we hope and pray that the pandemic we are experiencing is over with soon. Good luck and take care!
Ibn Khaldūn, Rosenthal, F., Dawood, N., Lawrence, B. and Ibn Khaldūn, n.d. The Muqaddimah.