By Madeleine Lee
Find out how Ansley Skipper’s travels have shaped her as she shares the joys and importance of opening one’s eyes to new places and people. She recounts her experiences in Istanbul, Turkey and adds her own advice as she reveals her adventures overseas.
Many places in the world are unseen by so many people, and there is so much adventure waiting there. Few people have the opportunity to see and experience the destinations that push them outside of their comfort zones, but we can learn from others who have been to some amazing places. Ansley Skipper (9) has seen many remarkable parts of the world and shares her stories associated with these unique places.
Over the years, Ansley has encountered numerous countries with cultures that are starkly different from the United States. She has traveled to Poland, Italy, France, England, Portugal, and Hungary, but her most memorable experience was her trip to Istanbul, Turkey during fall break of 2013, which she says made her a different and definitely more knowledgeable person.
She explains that before she arrived in Istanbul, she did not know what to expect. Not only was she visiting a foreign country, but as she says, “the religious and cultural traditions are so different.” However, that small amount of fear immediately vanished after arriving and meeting Istanbul’s welcoming atmosphere. She explains “everyone was so kind and welcoming,” and when asked what her favorite part of the trip was, Ansley answered with a definite “the people.” Everywhere Ansley and her parents went, the Turks were always offering them tea or simply asking if they needed anything.
She also explains “the trip expanded my willingness to open my mind to new places and people that are seemingly different, but really aren’t.” She realized that the people there were really just like her; they just had a different way of doing things.
Over the course of her time in Turkey, Ansley’s visited mosques, had tea at a Turkish friend’s house, and visited a traditional rug shop. Though these activities are simple tasks of everyday life, Ansley developed an increased appreciation for them because she was doing them in a different culture.
As Ansley passionately expresses the benefits of travel, she says “travel expands your knowledge, not just fact-based knowledge, but your awareness of the people around you.” Ansley has acquired this knowledge through her own travel experiences in which she was exposed to new worlds that she knew of but never really knew about. She was pushed outside of her comfort zone, and in the process she was introduced to and learned about the experiences of people from different backgrounds.
She says that people do not have to travel overseas to achieve these ideals. “It doesn’t have to be going to Europe, it can be just going to a different part of Memphis or going to Arkansas. We can stay close to home and discover something new that feels like traveling because you are traveling outside of your comfort zone.”